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Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke today on the threat of Islamist terror in the aftermath of the grisly Orlando attack which left 50 dead and 52 wounded. Using a teleprompter, a rare occurrence for the campaign, Trump outlined his plan to defeat ISIS and “make America safe again.” (The speech starts at about the 10:25 mark.)
Delivered in Manchester, NH, the 35-minute speech began with a criticism of Hillary Clinton, saying “she lacks the temperament and integrity to be our President.” Trump noted that “the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL was the worst terror strike on our soil since Sept. 11 and the worst mass shooting in our country’s history,” and asked for a moment of silence for the dead.
“Our nation stands together in solidarity with Orlando’s LGBT community,” he said. “It’s a strike at the heart and soul of who we are as a nation. It’s an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want, and express their identity.”
The speech wasn’t without standard Trump lines, stating again and again that our country has big problems, emphasizing his toughness, and his opposition to political correctness. It also included incorrect claims, such as claiming that the Pulse terrorist “was born in Afghan” [sic] when he was actually born in the U.S. (After a pause, he added “of Afghan parents,” so perhaps that was an error from reading the teleprompter.)
Although he has gone back and forth on the issue, Trump reiterated his plan to ban Muslim immigration until “we’re in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people.” He added, “thousands and thousands of people, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer” are pouring into the country.
“Radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-American. I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, Jewish people, are targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence.” He added, “We need to tell the truth about radical Islam and we need to do it now.”
“When it comes to radical Islam, ignorance is not bliss. It’s deadly,” Trump said, targeting the failures of Clinton and President Obama. “I will have an Attorney General, a Director of National Intelligence, and a Secretary of State who know how to fight the war on radical Islamic terror. And they will have the tools they need to do it right. Not like it’s being done now. It’s not right.”
In hitting Clinton, Trump went from legitimate concerns to overblown fearmongering, saying that radical Islamists are “trying to take over our children, and convince them how wonderful ISIS is” and claiming that the US has no screening system, when we do, albeit an insufficient one. But he is right to note that “the burden is on Hillary Clinton to tell us why we should admit anyone into our country who supports violence of any kind against gay and lesbian Americans. “
“Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community,” he said, “Donald Trump with his actions or Hillary Clinton with her words? I will tell you who the better friend is and someday I believe that will be proven out — bigly.”
Several commentators on the left and right criticized the speech for the usual Trumpian gaffes, misstatements, braggadocio, and lack of detail. But his tough talk on Islamic terror offered a dramatic and welcome contrast to the minced words and vague sentiments offered by President Obama and Hillary Clinton.