CHICAGO -- U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois asserted this week that a "politically correct" U.S. government was so fearful of offending Islam that it failed to prevent the Fort Hood massacre.
Walsh, a first-term Republican congressman with tea party support, told an audience in Elk Grove Village on Wednesday: "Your government was so afraid of doing its job, so afraid of offending Islam that right in front of our noses, we saw what was happening at Fort Hood, and because your government was politically correct, Americans died."
A U.S.-born Muslim who was an Army psychiatrist is awaiting trial for the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 dead and dozens more wounded.
Walsh decried the threat within the U.S. posed by a radical strain of Islam. "It is a real threat," he said. "And it is a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11. It's here. It's in Elk Grove. It's in Addison. It's in Elgin."
Walsh, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, said it is not a matter of whether there is another Sept. 11 attack, but when. "The people that would want to do this to America are trying to get their hands on weapons that will make 9/11 look like child's play," he added. "So we had better be alert to this."
Walsh faces Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the Nov. 6 election. A video tracker from Duckworth's campaign taped Walsh's remarks, which are on YouTube.
After the video was posted, Walsh issued a statement Thursday saying that even Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "have warned about the dangers of radical Islam."
But Kaitlin Fahey, Duckworth's campaign manager, criticized Walsh's comments.
"Congressman Walsh's remarks are not only offensive, they are especially inappropriate and irresponsible from a sitting member of Congress," Fahey said in a statement. "These comments demonstrate yet again why he is not fit to hold political office."