President Obama will deliver an Oval Office address Sunday at 8 p.m., the White House announced Saturday, as criticism of his terrorism strategy is mounting in the wake of attacks in California and overseas.
A statement from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama will detail “the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe.”
The president’s decision to speak directly to Americans comes as his administration faces criticism for failing to curb the threat posed by Islamic State, which carried out last month’s series of strikes in Paris that killed 130 people and is now connected to last week’s mass shooting in San Bernadino, Calif. While the group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, has not claimed direct responsibility for the attack that killed 14 Americans and wounded even more, one of the two perpetrators had declared her allegiance to Islamic State before carrying it out.
“The president will provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino,” the statement added. “The president will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it. He will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values – our unwavering commitment to justice, equality and freedom – to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology.”