Clinton stresses U.S. ‘resolve’ in terrorism fight; warns Trump policies aid militant recruitment

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September 19, 2016

NEW YORK — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Monday that the United States is up to the challenge of combating terrorism on its shores, and warned that anti-Muslim rhetoric by opponent Donald Trump is “giving aid and comfort” to the Islamic State.

September 19, 2016

NEW YORK — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Monday that the United States is up to the challenge of combating terrorism on its shores, and warned that anti-Muslim rhetoric by opponent Donald Trump is “giving aid and comfort” to the Islamic State.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the media at the Westchester County airport in White Plains, N.Y., on Sept. 19, 2016.

“We know that a lot of the rhetoric that we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, including ISIS, because they are looking to make this a war against Islam,” Clinton said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

“They want to use that to recruit more fighters to their cause by turning it into a religious conflict,” Clinton said, adding that the right approach is to go after “the bad guys” but not their religion.

Her comments came while a manhunt was underway for Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, a suspect in connection with bombings Saturday in Manhattan and Seaside Park, N.J. He was reportedly taken into custody several hours after his name was made public.

Earlier Monday, Trump said current anti-terrorism efforts are insufficient at home and abroad, for which he blames President Obama and Clinton, who served as Obama’s first-term secretary of state.

The United States is too tentative in its targeting efforts against terrorism overseas, Trump said in an interview, adding that the better approach would be to “knock the hell out of ‘em” and possibly introduce “racial profiling” as a counterterrorism tactic.

“We have to lead for a change. Because we’re not knocking them, we’re hitting them once in awhile, we’re hitting them in certain places. We’re being very gentle about it. We’re going to have to be very tough,” Trump told Fox News Channel.

A week before the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump, bombings and an investigation in New York and New Jersey at least temporarily refocused the presidential race on concerns about domestic terrorism and national security.

“This threat is real, but so is our resolve. Americans will not cower. We will prevail,” Clinton said. “We will defend our country, and we will defeat the evil, twisted ideology of the terrorists.”

Clinton, who also served as a U.S. senator from New York, quickly pointed to her own experience, in direct contrast to Trump. The New York businessman has never held elected office. Clinton sought to reassure Americans that law enforcement and other authorities are up to the task — a clear message to voters worried about how the next administration will confront security challenges.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Richmond, Va., Friday, June 10, 2016.

Polling suggests voters often trust Republicans over Democrats when it comes to dealing with terrorism, although in this election voters also say Clinton is more qualified to be commander in chief.

“I am the only candidate in this race who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield,” Clinton said.

She added that she had laid out “a comprehensive plan to meet the evolving nature of this threat and take the fight to ISIS everywhere they threaten us, including online.”

Trump, she insisted, has no real plan.

In touting her credentials, Clinton also pointed to the endorsements she has received from Republican national security leaders, who have voiced graved concerns about the prospect of Trump as commander in chief.

“I’m grateful to have support and advice from a wide range of bipartisan national security leaders, who worked with both Democratic and Republican presidents,” Clinton said.

Clinton spoke at a hastily called news conference held in an airplane hangar, with her campaign plane behind her. She was headed to Philadelphia for a speech aimed at young voters, many of whom are cool toward her candidacy and are helping buoy the third-party run of libertarian Gary Johnson.

Trump said authorities may have to engage in racial profiling to more effectively fight the threat of terrorist attacks in the United States.

“Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of, uh, profiling. And they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things,” Trump said in the Fox interview.

He concluded: “Do we have a choice? Look what’s going on. Do we really have a choice? We’re tying to be so politically correct in our country.”

It’s not the first time Trump has suggested that racial profiling could be an effective tactic.

“But look, we have — whether it’s racial profiling or politically correct, we’d better get smart,” he said at a Fox News town hall meeting in August. “We are letting tens of thousands of people into our country. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”

On Saturday night, as initial reports about an explosion in Manhattan were still coming in and before the authorities had announced the details, Trump told supporters at a rally that a “bomb” had gone off in New York. On Monday, he bragged about his choice of words.

“What I said is exactly correct. I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news,” Trump said.

“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” Trump said shortly after he left his plane at a rally in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.

Law enforcement officials said they are investigating whether Rahami could have been influenced by international militant groups or the ongoing conflict in his homeland.


Courtesy: Washington Post

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