Marco Rubio 'Doesn’t Understand' Why Hillary Clinton Won't Use the Term 'Radical Islam'

The Florida Senator spoke with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

November 15, 2015, 9:55 AM

— -- Marco Rubio said on "This Week" Sunday he doesn't understand why Hillary Clinton wouldn't use the term 'radical Islam' during the Democratic debate over the weekend.

"That would be like saying we weren't at war with Nazis because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi party, but weren't violent," Rubio told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

"I don't think we're at war with Islam. I don't think we're at war with all Muslims. I think we're at war with jihadists. We are at war with violent extremism," Hillary Clinton said at the debate in response to a question about Rubio declaring "we are at war with radical Islam" earlier the same day.

"Of course all Muslims are not members of violent jihadist groups," said Rubio. "But there is a global jihadist group in the world motivated by their interpretation of Islam, in this case Sunni Islam, and it needs to be confronted for what it is."

Asked how he would respond to the Paris terror attacks as president, Rubio said there would have to “a significant American engagement” in the fight against ISIS. He called for more airstrikes and special operations but argued it was “premature" to talk about the exact number of boots on the ground.

“We’re gonna take great pain to avoid civilian casualties, but at the end of the day no one’s killed more civilians here than ISIS,” Rubio said.

"We also need to get our Sunni allies more involved in this fight," he said. "The only way to defeat ISIS ideologically and militarily is by Sunni themselves.”

The terror attacks in Paris have also put a lot of attention on the President Obama's decision to increase the number of refugees coming in from Syria. Over the weekend, Rand Paul criticized Rubio for blocking a border security amendment to the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill that he says would have made it more difficult for terrorists to infiltrate the U.S. posing as refugees.

"Mine was a national security amendment, as well as an immigration amendment, and Marco blocked it,” Paul said speaking at the Florida Republican Party's Sunshine Summit this weekend.

"Rand just uses this sort of rhetoric to distract from his very weak record on national security issues,” Rubio said on "This Week." “He’s been one of the leading figures trying to gut the American intelligence programs.”

“The background checks are required now. The problem is not the background checks. The problem is we can’t background check them. You can’t pick up the phone and call Syria, and that’s one of the reasons why I said we won’t be able to take more refugees,” said Rubio.

Rubio also added that he would invoke NATO’s article 5, which declares an attack on one ally to be an attack on them all.

The Paris terror attacks left 129 people dead and more than 350 injured.

“I hope this is a reminder that the federal government is involved in all sorts of things, but the one thing it must do, and only it can do, is provide for our national security,” said Rubio. "Just 48 hours ago, in Paris, France, we were reminded of what happens to a country when it feels insecure."

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