Sen. Rubio Warns: 'The Next 4 Months Could Be President Obama's Most Damaging Yet'

By Susan Jones | September 26, 2016 | 7:59am EDT
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (Ap File Photo)

( - The world is a more dangerous place than it was when President Obama took office almost eight years ago, and "the worst of his presidency may still be yet to come," Sen. Marco Rubio said in the Republicans' Saturday radio address.

Rubio was discussing radical Islamic terrorism, which must not become "the new normal," he said. "We should not have to constantly look over our shoulder every time we visit a public place with our children or take a walk down the street."

The war on terror is a war the United States must win. But far from winning that war, President Obama "dismisses the enemy and underestimates the challenges they pose to our way of life," Rubio said.

"With just four months left in office, President Obama and his allies in Congress want to release every single terrorist from the military's custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We've already seen why this is a dangerous mistake, as many have been released to other countries, only to quickly go missing. Others have returned to the battlefield and replenished the forces of evil.

"The terrorists still behind bars are the worst of the worst, but President Obama and his misguided allies in Congress still want to send them to other countries, or even bring these terrorists here to U.S. soil. If Congress and the American people don't stop this terrible plan, these terrorists could join the ranks of al Qaeda or ISIS, at the same time our troops are trying to defeat them."

Rubio noted that the Republican-led Congress has successfully blocked Obama from bringing terrorist detainees to American soil -- so far.

"But the president and his allies remain committed to getting this done, even though it helps these groups grow even stronger, and even though it increases the risks to Americans at home and abroad."

At a Sept. 8 news conference in Laos, President Obama was asked if Guantanamo -- with 60 prisoners then remaining -- would still be open when he leaves office.

"With respect to Guantanamo, I am not ready to concede that it may still remain open because we're still working diligently to continue to shrink the population," Obama said. "I continue to believe that Guantanamo is a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations, that it clouds and sours some of the counterterrorism cooperation that we need to engage in. And it's not necessary and it's hugely expensive for U.S. taxpayers."

Obama admitted there is "strong resistance" in Congress to close the prison. "But as we continue to shrink the population to the point where we're looking at 40 or 50 people and are maintaining a multimillion-dollar operation to house these handfuls of individuals, I think the American people should be asking the question, why are we spending this kind of money that could be spent on other things when it's not necessary for our safety and security."

The president said he expects to "work really hard" for the remainder of his term to close the prison, as he promised he would do when he first campaigned for president.

And as recently as last Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about the possibility of additional prisoner transfers from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to third countries.

Earnest said he had nothing to announce at the moment -- "but we'll obviously keep you posted if any of those transfers take place."

Rubio on Saturday said it's not just Guantanamo that worries him. He also pointed to the "disastrous deal with Iran," which is giving a state sponsor of terrorism "billions of dollars in sanctions relief and ransom payments -- money they will use to fulfill their dreams of 'death to America' and wiping Israel off the planet," he said.

"All these challenges underscore the need to rebuild our military, to reassure our traditional allies, and reassert American leadership on the world stage. Unless we take these actions, we will be unable to leave the world more secure for future generations of Americans.

"The next four months could be President Obama's most damaging yet as he works to fulfill these last ditch legacy projects."

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