Trump Unhinged, But Clinton's Post-Orlando Speech Also Sparks Concern
Though with markedly different tones and levels of aggression, similarities punctuated the manner in which the two leading presidential contenders have responded to the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club—namely, calling for more war and more surveillance.
In Cleveland on Monday, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton condemned the “nightmare that’s become mind-numbingly familiar: Another act of terrorism in a place no one expected,” referring to the weekend massacre that left 49 dead.
The 20-minute speech focused largely on gun control, with the former secretary of state calling for a new ban on assault weapons, which was a clear break from presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump—who suggested the tragedy would have been avoided “if you had some guns in that club.”
And while much has been made about the disparity between Clinton and Trump’s remarks, there was also some notable overlap.
In her speech, Clinton declared, “The attack in Orlando makes it even more clear, we cannot contain this threat. We must defeat it.” She then explained how her approach to fighting “radical jihadists” at home would mean more bombing and war in the Middle East and beyond.
“I fear we’ve already begun to enlist the 49 dead into the project of American empire, here and abroad, into the endless, borderless war that began on 9/12.”
“We should keep the pressure on ramping up the air campaign, accelerating support for our friends fighting to take and hold ground and pushing our partners in the region to do even more,” she said.
In addition to “efforts…on the battlefield,” Clinton also announced support for “an intelligence surge to bolster our capabilities across the board with appropriate safeguards here at home.”
Surprising no one but outraging many, Trump took advantage of the Orlando tragedy to double-down on his call for an immigration ban on Muslims while vowing, if elected, to increase the military response against the Islamic State and erect an unrivaled surveillance network.
“As President, I will give our intelligence community, law enforcement and military the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks,” Trump declared before a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday. “We need an intelligence-gathering system second to none. That includes better cooperation between state, local and federal officials—and with our allies.”
“I will have an Attorney General, a Director of National Intelligence, and a Secretary of Defense who will know how to fight the war on Radical Islamic Terrorism—and who will have the support they require to get the job done,” he said.
As Intercept journalist Zaid Jilani noted on Monday, “Both candidate’s neglected to consider that no operational links between ISIS and the alleged Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, have been discovered.”
Contrasting with Trump’s tone of division, Clinton concluded her speech calling for national unity. The subtext of her message, however, was seen as problematic by many.
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