Washington: Hillary Clinton cast herself as the only presidential candidate who has fought terrorism and slammed Donald Trump’s response to the incidents in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota over the weekend as “demagogic.”
In a news conference on the tarmac of Westchester County Airport on Monday, the Democratic presidential nominee said she has been “part of the hard decision to take terrorists off the battlefield,” and contrasted her steadiness to what she called Trump’s “irresponsible, reckless rhetoric”, CNN reported.
“It is like so much else he says: It is not grounded in fact, it is meant to make some kind of demagogic point,” Clinton said. “I am prepared to, ready to actually take on those challenges, not engage in a lot of irresponsible, reckless rhetoric.”
An explosive device went off in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan over the weekend, once again thrusting the politics of terror into the center of the 2016 election.
Clinton and Trump initially responded to the incident in contrasting styles: Trump was quick to announce that a bomb had gone off in New York, even before there was much information about the incident; Clinton, meanwhile, urged caution, and the importance of waiting to draw conclusions until more information was available.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller said that the Clinton campaign accused the Republican nominee of treason and criticized her previous stances on the war in Iraq.
“If Clinton really wants to find the real cause of IS, she needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror,” Miller said.
In her news conference on Monday, Clinton also warned against the instinct to villainize entire groups of people based on religion.
Asked about Ahmad Khan Rahami — in custody following a police shootout after he was allegedly seen on video near the bombing — and whether his Afghan descent will help Trump politically, Clinton said: “There are millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslim Americans.”
“That is why I have been very clear. We are going after the bad guys and we are going to get them, but we are not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it is wanting,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s news conference offered no new policies to fight terror. She argued, as she has before, that the United States needs to invest more in intelligence to combat lone wolf attacks.
The former secretary of state also called on tech companies in Silicon Valley to “give us the tools and lead us to those who are attempting to promote attacks like we have seen.”
Clinton has given speeches on defeating terror multiple times throughout the 2016 campaign, including policy-focused addresses in Minneapolis and New York earlier this year.