Trump blasts Obama’s ‘politically correct’ response to Orlando

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MANCHESTER, N.H. – An emboldened Donald Trump doubled down Monday on his policy vow to put a temporary ban on immigration from Muslim countries, a day after a Florida man who had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State carried out the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11.

The presumptive Republican pick for the White House ripped what he labeled as President Barack Obama’s “politically correct response” to the massacre, an approach he argued “cripples our ability to talk and think and act clearly.” The billionaire real estate developer didn’t hold back in his criticism.

“They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else,” Trump thundered about the Obama administration in a speech at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire’s biggest city. Without acknowledging that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was born in New York, the candidate demanded that Obama “release the full and complete immigration histories of all individuals implicated in terrorist activity of any kind since 9/11.”

The former reality television star, in a rare display of following a scripted text, was equally derisive of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who he chided over her apparent hesitance to include the words “radical Islam” in the same sentence with the word “terrorism.”

“Hillary Clinton – who has been forced to say the words today after policies she supports have caused us so much damage – still has no clue what radical Islam is, and won’t speak honestly about what it is,” Trump said. “She is in total denial, and her continuing reluctance to ever name the enemy broadcasts weakness across the world.”

“In fact, just a few weeks before the San Bernardino slaughter, Hillary Clinton explained her refusal to say the words radical Islam. Here is what she said: ‘Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people, and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.’”

A check on Trump’s claim regarding the quote he attributed to Clinton showed that she did in fact utter those words via social media, in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack in California last November. That massacre during a holiday party was carried out by a Pakistani-American and his Pakistani-born wife:

Meanwhile, Clinton, who spoke in Cleveland on Monday, didn’t link the word “radical” with “Islam” in her remarks – instead, she was careful to pair the word with “jihadists,” mentioning the term “radical jihadists” twice.

“Whatever we learn about this killer, his motives in the days ahead, we know already the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists is profound,” Clinton said at one point.

Clinton did, however, inadvertently echo Trump’s trademarked call to “Make America great again” when she said in her speech that “it is time to get back to the spirit of those days, spirit of 9/12,” referencing the unity among Americans that arose in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But Clinton qualified that reference by stressing then-President George W. Bush’s efforts to “send a message of unity and solidarity” by visiting a “Muslim community center six days after the attacks.”

Trump struck the opposite tone in his remarks and called on Muslim communities to “turn in the people who they know are bad – and they do know where they are.”

“When it comes to radical Islamic terrorism, ignorance is not bliss – it’s deadly,” Trump said. Mateen, who attended a mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida, was quiet and didn’t exhibit signs of violent behavior, the Washington Post reported, citing Imam Shafiq Rahman of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce.

In a statement Monday, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation took an apparent swipe at Trump, warning against “political campaigning and self-serving agendas” following the Orlando attack, according to the Associated Press. The organization added that “the massacre, as terrible as it is, must not be taken out of its context as a domestic American case” and expressed concern about emerging “Islamophobic discourse.”

Instead of tip-toeing around the issue of the availability of firearms in America and the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to own them, which often is the focus of the Obama administration’s response to gun violence, Trump wasted no time backing gun owners and the National Rifle Association.

“I will be meeting with the NRA, which has given me their earliest endorsement in a presidential race, to discuss how to ensure Americans have the means to protect themselves in this age of terror,” Trump said. He also blasted Clinton’s noted opposition to the pro-gun crowd.

“Hillary Clinton says the solution is to ban guns,” he said. “They tried that in France, which has among the toughest gun laws in the world, and 130 were brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists in cold blood.” Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers struck Paris in November.

“Her plan is to disarm law-abiding Americans, abolishing the Second Amendment, and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns – she wants to take away Americans’ guns, then admit the very people who want to slaughter us,” Trump said.

Trump, who canceled a Boston fundraiser set for Monday night, later teed off on a Post story which featured the headline, “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.” The report focuses on a comment Trump made earlier Monday in a Fox News interview. 

“We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said, according to the Post. “People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

Hours after his Manchester speech, Trump took to social media to announce that Post reporters would no longer be welcome by his campaign, revoking their credentials for access to his events. He cited  “incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting” by “the phony and dishonest Washington Post.”

The Post changed the headline of the story shortly after it was first published, AP reported. Editor Marin Baron declared Trump’s action to be “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press.” He said the newspaper would still cover the Trump campaign “honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly.”

Trump also took aim at those who widely criticized his claim from last year that he recalled seeing “thousands and thousands of people cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11.

Several newspapers reported Monday that high school classmates of Mateen recalled him cheering on the Sept. 11 hijackers on the day of the attacks.

For a transcript of Trump’s speech, click here.

For a transcript of Clinton’s speech, click here.