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Following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris this month, White House spokesman Josh Earnest briefly became an Islamic theologian. At issue was why U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, unlike the leadership of France, wouldn’t describe the murderers as adherents to “radical Islam.”

Pressed by NPR’s Mara Liasson, Earnest explained to reporters that the terrorists tried to “invoke their own deviant, distorted view of Islam in order to justify” the attacks.

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