Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall apologized for trying to score political points off the beheadings of two American journalists at the hands of Islamic terrorists, after he said in a debate that the slain men would agree with his approach on dealing with the group.
“I can tell you that Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, ‘don’t be impulsive,'” Udall said in advocating a cautious approach to any military action the U.S. might take. (RELATED: Democratic Senator Channels Beheaded Journalist)
“Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive, come up with a plan to knock ISIL back,” he added.
Videotaped executions of Foley and Sotloff, who had been captured by forces of the Islamic State — variously referred to as ISIS or ISIL — provoked worldwide outrage and a likely military response from the United States, which will be detailed by President Obama in a televised speech on Wednesday.
Response to Udall’s remarks was immediate, with many in the Grand Junction audience grumbling their disapproval.
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, Udall’s November opponent, condemned them Monday.
“Americans have watched in horror in recent weeks as two of our fellow countrymen have been brutally executed by terrorists, and it’s outrageous that Senator Udall would put words into the mouths of dead Americans,” Gardner said in a statement. “Furthermore, it’s deeply troubling that he views a terrorist organization like ISIL as not an imminent threat to America.”
The latter comment was in reference to Udall saying he didn’t believe the group posed an imminent threat to Americans at home.
The comments also infuriated journalists.
“James Foley and Steven Sotloff don’t need politicians claiming to know what they’d want,” tweeted The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone.
Udall responded to the criticism quickly, issuing a statement apologizing for referring to the journalists.
“When addressing ISIL during this weekend’s debate, I should not have invoked the names of James Foley and Steven Sotloff,” Udall said. “It was inappropriate and I sincerely apologize.”
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