Two conflicting views of the enemy the United States faces in the so-called “War on Terror” were on display again as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and President Obama responded to the attacks over the weekend in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey.
Trump, chastising Clinton and Obama for refusing to name the enemy “radical Islam,” called the threat a “cancer from within” in an interview Monday with the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”
Clinton, meanwhile, reiterated the Obama administration’s insistence that calling ISIS, the Islamic State, Islamic would play into the hands of the jihadist group and its allies.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday morning that the war against ISIS “in some ways, this is actually just a war of narratives” against a “poisonous, empty bankrupt mythology.”
Trump, referencing again his argument that politically correct views of the threat has made the nation more dangerous, said police are afraid to take action against Islamic terror plots because they don’t want to be accused of profiling.
“We’re not winning the war, they’re winning the war,” he said, adding it’s “only going to get worse.”
Trump tweeted Sunday night: “Under the leadership of Obama & Clinton, Americans have experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad. Time to change the playbook!”
Authorities now have a person of interest in custody they believe was involved in separate incidents in New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, a native of Afghanistan. An explosion in Manhattan injured at least 29 people Saturday night, and several hours later New York police found an unexploded pressure cooker just blocks away. In New Jersey on Saturday a device exploded near the starting point of a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park. In Elizabeth, New Jersey, authorities said several bombs were found inside a backpack near the train station. And in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a young Somali Muslim stabbed eight people before he was shot and killed by an off-duty officer. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
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‘We’re not going to go after an entire religion’
Clinton, speaking Monday from an airport tarmac in White Plains, New York, told reporters Trump’s proposals and anti-Muslim rhetoric gives “aid and comfort” to ISIS.
She advocated an “intelligence surge” to defeat ISIS and building up trust with Muslim communities in the U.S.
Trump, she asserted, wants “to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists.”
“We’re not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIL (ISIS) what it wants,” she said.
Trump told “Fox & Friends” the threat from within underscores the need for extreme vetting of refugees and a temporary suspension of immigration from Muslim nations that have a reputation for exporting terrorists.
“Hillary Clinton wants to allow hundreds of thousands of these same people,” Trump said.
The Obama administration wants to increase the number of refugees to the U.S. next year by nearly 30 percent, to 110,000. Last September, Clinton advocated increasing Obama’s target of 10,000 Syrian refugees to to 65,000.
Clinton said she supports “tough vetting” but emphasized there are millions of “law-abiding” Muslims and other naturalized citizens in the U.S.
“Let us be vigilant, but not afraid,” she said.
Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, said that in the wake of the weekend attacks, it’s “highly disturbing and entirely unacceptable that 858 immigrants from dangerous countries have slipped into our country and been granted full U.S. citizenship because of the failed policies supported by President Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
“Even worse, Clinton must explain her reckless support for a 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees and her push for an all-out open border policy, which will put even more Americans at risk,” said Miller.
“Our enemies neither fear nor respect Hillary Clinton, and as a nation, that is dangerous, and it is disgraceful,’ he said.
Miller said Trump “will bring an end to these attacks, because unlike Obama and Clinton, he believes we’re in more than a fight about ‘narratives.’”
“These terrorists pose an existential threat to our country and our values and they must be destroyed before they can harm any more of our citizens,” he said.
Clinton touted her experience as secretary of state.
“I won’t get into classified information, but I have sat at that table in the Situation Room, I know how to do this and I understand that we don’t want this to get any bigger than it already is,” she told reporters. “It’s clear we still have challenges, and I am prepared to, ready to actually take on those challenges, not engage in irresponsible, reckless rhetoric.”
Referring to Trump, she said. “You don’t hear a plan from him. He keep saying he has a secret plan. The secret is, he has no plan.”