Donald Trump Speaks on Terrorism in New Hampshire After Orlando Shooting
Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton set their sights on each other Monday, just a day after the massacre in Orlando, Fla., with Mr. Trump suggesting that his opponent was too weak to keep the country safe. Mrs. Clinton warned that Mr. Trump’s demonization of Muslims was inciting terrorists.
The clash comes as national security takes center stage in the campaign after the worst attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. The latest incident occurred Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, where a Muslim man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53.
Mr. Trump responded with fury on Monday, calling for increased bombing of Islamic State terrorists, accusing American Muslims of looking the other way as attacks unfolded and warning that Mrs. Clinton did not comprehend the nature of the threat.
He also condemned Mrs. Clinton for failing to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” They were the first remarks by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, since the massacre on Sunday in Orlando.
Clinton Responds to Orlando Tragedy
Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, initially offered a measured response and a call for unity before warning that Mr. Trump’s policies were part of the problem. She also said that the threat of terrorism was not a matter of language and that she had no problem using the term “radical Islamism” in an interview on CNN.
Mr. Trump, assailed President Obama as well, accusing both him, and Mrs. Clinton, of failing to understand the nature of the terrorist threat facing the country. Mr. Trump also appeared to suggest that Mr. Obama might be complicit in such attacks. “We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Mr. Trump said. “There is something going on.”
Mr. Trump also accused the president of coddling terrorists overseas and being overly concerned with collateral damage.
“Can you imagine General Patton saying ‘Please get out of your trucks because we’re going to start dropping bombs in one hour?’” said Mr. Trump. “This is the way we fight. We’re led by a fool.”
The remarks come ahead of what Mr. Trump has billed as a major speech on terrorism that he will deliver in New Hampshire on Monday afternoon. Previewing the speech, he said that his national security plans would include the country becoming tougher and smarter.
Graphic: What Happened Inside the Orlando Nightclub
Mrs. Clinton will speak in Cleveland on Monday afternoon.
“We have to be extremely strong,” Mr. Trump said. “We have to be very strong in terms of looking at the mosques.”
He added, “thousands of people already in our country are sick with hate” and said Muslims in their communities knew who the terrorists were and needed to turn them in.
Polls show that many Americans appreciate Mr. Trump’s tough talk about terrorism. The Manhattan businessman appeared eager to change the political conversation after two weeks of controversy over his statements about a Mexican-American federal judge. He said that Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state, was not fit to steer the country through such crises.
“She’s weak on so many different levels,” Mr. Trump said. “These are times when you need solid, you need smart.”
Mrs. Clinton said on Monday that the tragedy in Orlando should not be politicized.
“This is a moment for Republicans, Democrats and independents to work together as one team — the American team,” Mrs. Clinton said on MSNBC. “And it’s a time for statesmanship, not partisanship.”