Clinton calls for national unity in first speech since Orlando attack
Clinton laid out detailed plans for battling the terrorist group, from dismantling the network that moves money and fighters across the globe to stemming "the flow of jihadists," in a speech in Cleveland. She also called for protections for "soft targets," such as the night club in Orlando where 49 people were killed by a gunman who'd pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Earlier Monday, Clinton sounded a note of unity, a theme she struck repeatedly during her remarks.
“This is a moment for Republicans, Democrats and independents to work together as one,” Clinton said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. “It’s a time for statesmanship, not partisanship. I think our fellow American citizens expect that,” she said, noting that the country came together after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Clinton sought to strike a balance between toughness — she vowed to hunt down terrorist sympathizers — and restraint by cautioning against a backlash against American Muslims, saying that will only fuel the problem of “self-radicalization.”
The Orlando shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, was a U.S.-born citizen who had previously been under scrutiny by the FBI.
Clinton also said she’s “totally bewildered” by the Republican-led Congress’s unwillingness to bar individuals on the FBI’s no-fly list from purchasing assault weapons like the kind Mateen used.
In breaking with , Clinton also used the words “radical Islamism” to describe the motive behind the attack. “Whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I'm happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing,” Clinton said in a separate interview on CNN’s New Day.
Trump later touted her rhetorical shift, tweeting that "Hillary just broke."
I have been hitting Obama and Crooked Hillary hard on not using the term Radical Islamic Terror. Hillary just broke-said she would now use!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2016
But she also warned that ostracizing American Muslims would play into the hands of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and other terrorist groups.
“We cannot demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion. That is just dangerous, and it plays into the hands” of ISIS, she said. American Muslims “have as big a stake, if not a greater one, in bringing the country together,” she said on MSNBC. “Hate is not the answer to hate” and division “will make it harder to defeat this threat.”
Clinton's response to the attacks was a marked contrast with Trump, who reiterated his support for a temporary ban on Muslim travel to the U.S. and accused Clinton of planning to “dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East.” He also attacked Obama for refusing to use the words “radical Islam.”
On Monday, Trump continued his attacks on Clinton and Obama, saying the president "has no clue" and describing Clinton as "a weak person."
During her Cleveland remarks, Clinton hearkened back to the unity that emerged after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Americans from all walks of life rallied together with a sense of common purpose on Sept. 12," she said.
She also cited President Bush's trip to an Islamic center after 9/11, aimed at sending a message to the nation that the nation was not at war with Islam.
“It is time to get back to the spirit of those days – the spirit of 9/12," Clinton said.