Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for its initial response to the attacks on United States diplomats in Egpyt and Libya this week, saying an early statement from the administration amounted to an “apology” for America’s values.
“An apology for America’s values is never the right course,” Romney said in Jacksonville, Fla., where he is campaigning.
The attacks have left Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans dead as they escaped the consulate building in Benghazi under attack from gunmen on Tuesday.
Romney’s harsh criticism was in response to the statement released by the American embassy in Egypt after the attacks on Tuesday but before the slaying of the diplomats in Libya were known.
The statement appeared to sympathize with the attackers, saying, “the Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
It’s been reported that the attackers may be retaliating against Americans for an anti-Muslim film produced by an Israeli filmmaker who lives in California.
On Wednesday, Romney said “the administration was wrong to stand by its statement sympathizing with those who have breached our embassy in Egypt.”
“These views were inappropriate, they were the wrong course to take when our embassy has been breached by protestors,” Romney said. “The first response should not be to say ‘yes we stand by our comments that suggest that there’s something wrong the right of free speech.’”
The Republican nominee then criticized the Obama administration for later distancing themselves from the statement from the Egyptian embassy.
“That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world,” Romney said. “The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed.”
Responding to the death of Stevens and other Americans, Romney said, “This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous, it’s disgusting.”