Orlando attack reactions from Clinton, Trump are starkly different
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have conveyed vastly different reactions to the shooting in Orlando with one offering a detailed plan to try to prevent future terrorist attacks and cut off their access to guns and the other focusing on the terrorist threat and closing the borders to Muslims.
The Orlando massacre was the most deadly shooting in U.S. history and the worst domestic terror attack since 9/11: 49 people died and 53 wounded. The shooter, Omar Mateen, went on his rampage early Sunday morning at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
On Monday, President Obama and FBI Director James Comey said the shooter was radicalized through the Internet, but there's no indication that he was directed by a terrorist group from outside the U.S. There's still much officials said they don't know yet, including his motive.
Since the news unfolded Sunday, Mr. Obama, Clinton and Democrats on Capitol Hill have advocated both efforts to defeat terrorist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their ideologies, and to enact stricter gun measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.
Trump has responded by lambasting the president and Clinton for not using the words "radical Islamic terrorism," seemed to advocate looser concealed carry laws, and repeated his call for a "temporary" policy to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
"The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive. We must attack it with clear eyes, steady hands and unwavering determination in pride in our country and our values," Clinton said in a speech from Cleveland, Ohio, a major swing state in the general election.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would try to contain the threat overseas with military force and at home with tighter gun safety laws.
She supports the U.S. efforts to contain ISIS, saying the U.S. should continue ramping up the military campaign against ISIS from the air over Iraq and Syria, resolve political conflicts that fuel ISIS's recruitment efforts, dismantle the networks it uses to move money, fighters and arms around the world, and stem the flow of jihadists between the U.S. and Europe and places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The only way to do this is [by] working closely with our partners -- not weakening them or walking away from them," she said.
At home, Clinton proposed ways to enact stricter gun laws, to keep terrorists from being able to purchase firearms and to limit the kinds of guns anyone can buy.
"It's essential that we stop terrorists from getting the tools they need for carrying out these attacks. That is especially true when it comes to assault weapons like those used in Orlando and San Bernardino," Clinton said. "If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun with no questions asked. You shouldn't be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. Yes, if you are too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America."
Guns traced in #Orlando shooting: .223 caliber AR type rifle and 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Similar to those pictured pic.twitter.com/Ao5pcLtwBg— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) June 12, 2016
"I know some will say that assault weapons and background checks have nothing to do with terrorism. We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war, and that may not stop every shooting or every terrorist attack," Clinton said. "But it will stop some and it will save lives."
The perpetrator of the mass shooting in Orlando, Omar Mateen, passed a background check and purchased a Sig Sauer MCX rifle and a Glock 17 handgun a day later. Mateen had been investigated by the FBI twice before -- once for telling coworkers he was affiliated with al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and another time for his casual acquaintance with an American suicide bomber in Syria.
But Clinton would face the same obstacles Mr. Obama has run into in changing gun laws -- efforts by some in Congress to pass a new assault weapons ban and enact other gun safety measures have repeatedly failed.
Trump's proposals to reduce mass shootings stand in direct opposition to Clinton's. The presumptive GOP nominee said that if club goers were allowed to carry guns during the shooting -- a position he has taken after other mass shootings -- there would have been a different outcome.
"By the way, if you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn't have had the tragedy that you had. If people in that room had guns with the bullets flying in the opposite direction right at him," Trump said on CNN's "New Day" Monday morning.
While the state of Florida has a concealed carry law that allows licensed owners to carry guns, it bans gun owners from taking their guns into establishments that serve alcohol.
Trump also complained about Clinton's stance on guns, which he misrepresented.
"[Clinton] says the solution is to ban guns. They tried that in France, which has among the toughest gun laws anywhere in the world and 130 people were brutally murdered," Trump said. "Her plan is to disarm law-abiding Americans, abolishing the Second Amendment and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns."
Clinton has never called for a complete gun ban or said she would abolish the Second Amendment.
During a carefully scripted speech in Manchester, New Hampshire a few hours later, Trump suggested his Muslim entry ban proposal was necessary to prevent further acts of terrorism in the U.S.
"If we don't get tough and smart, and fast, we're not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing left," he said. "We have a dysfunctional immigration system that does not permit us to know who we let into this country."
Trump said he called for the Muslim entry ban after the San Bernardino terrorist attack last December and that while the pause would be temporary, he said, "We must find out what is going on."
In my speech on protecting America I spoke about a temporary ban, which includes suspending immigration from nations tied to Islamic terror.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2016
"Clinton wants radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country." In an interview on on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," Trump reiterated his claim that Clinton would increase the number of radical Islamists coming to the U.S. from Syria fivefold.
"[Clinton] wants people coming in -- she wants a 500 percent increase in people coming in from Syria that are radical Islamists, OK?"
But Clinton advocates bringing more Syrian refugees into the U.S. -- not Islamists -- as O'Reilly pointed out to Trump, "[Y]ou are conflating both radicals and refugees."
On Monday, during phone interviews with Fox News Channel and NBC News, Trump implied that the president might somehow be connected to the massacre.
"[W]e're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind," he said. And he went on to say, "[T]he something else in mind, you know, people can't believe it," Trump said.
He went on to say twice that there was "something going on."
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