Tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson gave President Barack Obama some rare praise for his response to the North Korean cyberattack that threatened the release of a Sony Pictures movie.
“I am proud of the president of the United States for taking a tough stand on this issue,” Carson, a frequent and no-holds-barred critic of Obama, wrote in a Washington Times opinion piece published late Tuesday. “It was extremely encouraging to see the United States and Sony eventually stand up to the cyberbullying of the North Koreans by allowing the movie ‘The Interview’ to be released in theaters around the country despite threats of retaliation.”
Carson has slammed Obama in the past for his policies, most recently his stance on race relations in the wake of incidents in Ferguson and New York, and once criticized the direction of the country with Obama just a few feet away.
Carson did measure his kudos to the President, adding in the opinion piece that the U.S. response “should go far beyond proportionality.”
Obama had said that the U.S. would respond proportionally to the cyberattack, which the FBI said North Korea was “responsible” for. North Korea denied involvement in the Sony hack and instead threatened attacks on “all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists.”
“The response should go far beyond proportionality, and an example should be made of the perpetrators by using a host of available options to inflict the kind of punishment that will not be easily forgotten,” Carson wrote, adding that he believes the U.S. “appears to be a paper tiger” and is less respected and feared around the world.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who is also considering a 2016 presidential run, also gave Obama a rare kudos in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union published Sunday.
“So far so good, Mr. President,” Graham said.
But Graham also measured his praise, saying Obama should have called the attack an act of cyberterrorism and not the “cybervandalism” Obama described in a CNN interview.