Facing fallout that could threaten his 2016 ambitions, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tried to clarify his comments that if he were commander in chief he’d handle terrorists such as Islamic State fighters the same way he faced 100,000 pro-labor protesters in his home state — by saying that’s the closest thing he has to national security experience.
“There’s no comparison between the two, let me be perfectly clear,” Walker told several reporters after his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday night, according to The New York Times. “I’m just pointing out the closest thing I have to handling a difficult situation was the 100,000 protesters I had to deal with.”
Addressing a standing-room only crowd at CPAC earlier Thursday, Walker didn’t directly answer what actions he would take to succeed in the global counterterrorism fight if he were elected president in 2016, but he criticized President Barack Obama and said he was concerned about the threat posed to the United States by the Islamic State, or ISIS. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” Walker said, “I can do the same across the world.”
His representatives are continuing to try and manage the fallout, saying he was not comparing the protesters to terrorists. Walker’s communications team did not respond to requests for comment from Defense One by publication.
“Governor Walker believes our fight against ISIS is one of the most important issues our country faces. He was in no way comparing any American citizen to ISIS,” Walker’s spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told CNN. “What the governor was saying was when faced with adversity he chooses strength and leadership. Those are the qualities we need to fix the leadership void this White House has created.”