Mitt Romney reiterated on Wednesday his claim that President Obama’s “first response” to an attack on a diplomatic compound in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens was to “sympathize” with Stevens’s attackers.
In a press conference delivered minutes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the attacks, Romney expanded on his initial statement, accusing Obama of apologizing to Islamic militants.
“We join together in the condemnation of attacks on the American embassies and the loss of American life and join in sympathy for these people,”Romney said. “It’s also important for me — just as it was for the White House, last night by the way — to say that the statements were inappropriate, and in my view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for American values.”
It was the second time in just over 12 hours that Romney had suggested the White House sided with rioters and militants. Romney’s initial statement came late Tuesday, after news had broke that an American officer had been killed in Libya, but before the State Department had confirmed Stevens was among the dead. It inaccurately suggested that the U.S. embassy in Cairo, which also came under attack, had issued a statement condemning an anti-Muslim film online that had sparked the riots as its “first response” to the violence. In fact, the embassy and multiple press reports assert that the statement came before the protests and was intended to head off a confrontation.
The White House also distanced itself from the initial embassy statement, saying it was not approved by Washington, and issued a tougher condemnation of the violence from Clinton the same night.
Romney defended his decision to condemn the president even when the facts and chronology were still unclear.