President Barack Obama's speech after the mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard on Monday was “far from being partisan,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
President Barack Obama speaks about the about progress in the economy since the financial crises that happened five years ago, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 16, 2013.(Getty Images)
Responding to a question about criticism over the tone of the speech, Carney stressed that Obama opened his remarks by talking about the shooting. The speech had been previously scheduled to mark the fifth anniversary of the financial collapse in 2008. Even based on that theme, Obama took the opportunity to lambast congressional Republicans who oppose funding his signature health care law.
“He called for and demanded a seamless investigation with federal law enforcement, and that is what we're seeing now,” Carney said, before moving to discuss the budget.
“It is a fact that we have very little time for Congress to act and the consequences for the American economy if Congress fails to act would be significant, and it is an absolutely important part of his job to talk about that with the American people,” Carney continued. “And far from being a partisan speech, the president made clear in his speech that many Republicans on Capitol Hill agree with him that we should not go down the road of trying to shut down the government, defaulting on our obligations in the name of some partisan pursuit. But unfortunately there is a faction that many -- me and some conservative op-ed pages have noted -- are not doing a great service to their party, let alone to the country or the middle class by pursuing this partisan agenda.”
While Obama opened his speech Monday by talking about the shooting, he went on to criticize Tea Party Republicans and remind the GOP that he won re-election in 2012.
“I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if they can't get 100 percent of what they want,” Obama said of the Tea Party members of Congress. “That's never happened before, but that's what's happening right now.”
He went on to say, “The Affordable Care Act has been the law for three and a half years now. It passed both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court said it was constitutional, it was an issue in last year's election and the candidate that called for repeal lost.”
Asked later in the briefing if Obama was aware when he gave the speech that 13 people were dead, Carney said the president knew the same information that the public did.
MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who routinely criticizes conservatives, was sharply critical of Obama's tone.
“On the day where people were hiding, people were bleeding, while people were dying, while the nation was locked in on this, he’s talking about hard partisanship and Republican wanting to hurt people,” Scarborough said. He asked what the reaction would have been if former President George W. Bush had done something similar similar: “can you imagine what certain people at this network would have said?”