Washington: Indian-American Louisiana Governor and presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal on Friday lashed out at Barack Obama for his “shameful” statements on the church shooting, saying the US President was trying to “score cheap political points” barely hours after the grisly attack.
“Now is the time to be hugging these families, now is the time to be praying for these families, now is the time to be coming together.
“I think it (Obama’s statement) was completely shameful.
“Within 24 hours we’ve got the president trying to score cheap political points,” Jindal said on Fox News Channel, a day after a young white man gunned down nine worshippers in a black church in South Carolina State.
He said Obama’s “job as commander-in-chief is to help the country begin the healing process”.
However, the President’s remarks tended to divide the country on sectarian lines, Jindal said, even as he heaped praise on Nikki Haley, governor of the affected state and also an Indian-American.
“For whatever reason he always tries to divide us,” Jindal said of Obama. “Today was not the moment. This was not the time.”
The 44-year-old potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate will announce next week whether or not he will run for the top post.
“I think for today what the commander-in-chief should have done – he could be emulated what Nikki Haley did ? what a great governor of her state, coming and speaking for the people of South Carolina saying our hearts are broken and having that candid moment on TV,” Jindal told the MSNBC in an interview.
He said Obama could have avoided politics in his remarks in the wake of the killings.
“You can see the emotion, that’s beginning the healing process. The President could have asked the country – he could have said, instead of talking about politics we’re not democrats, republicans, independents, blacks whites; we’re Americans. We all need to worship together,” Jindal said.
On Thursday, Obama had said the United States should look again at how killers get their hands on guns.
“I say that recognising the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun,” Obama had said.
“Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” he said.
The fact that this shooting took place in a black church raises questions about a dark part of American history, he added.