Obama’s Regret: Not Closing Gitmo Day One, Having To ‘Chip Away At It’ [VIDEO]

Derek Hunter Contributor
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What advice would President Barack Obama in year six of his administration give to himself if he could send a message back in time to his first day on the job?

It wouldn’t be about avoiding the $9 trillion in new debt amassed during his tenure, it wouldn’t be tricks to fix the economy, how to avoid the botched roll-out of Obamacare, or even to treat ISIS as the serious threat it was and not the “jayvee team.” No, it would be to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay ASAP.

Asked what he would advise his younger self to do on day one of his term, the President told an audience in Cleveland, “I think I would’ve closed Guantanamo on the first day.”

The president cited a “bi-partisan agreement that it should be closed,” referring to the fact that 2008 Republican nominee John McCain shared his desire to close the terrorist prison.

“The politics got tough, and people got scared by the rhetoric around it,” Obama said. “Once that set in, then the path of least resistance was to leave it open, even though it’s not who we are as a country and is used by terrorist around the world to help recruit jihadists.”

A bipartisan effort in Congress has expressly blocked efforts by the Obama administration to close the prison and move detainees to the United States. Unable to close it outright, the president admitted to a policy to “chip away” at the prison by releasing prisoners to other countries under the promise they will ensure they do not resume their involvement with radical Islamic terrorism.

Obama continued, “So, instead, we’ve just had to chip away at it year after year after year. But I think in the first couple of weeks we could have done it quickly.”

The Obama administration has been releasing terrorist captives from the prison at a record rate, including five high-ranking Taliban terrorist leaders who were traded for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. Many of the detainees released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield.


[h/t Free Beacon for the video]