Hillary Clinton held a brief press conference Monday morning to make clear she had the resolve, temperament, and plan to deal with terrorist attacks like those in New Jersey and Minnesota over the weekend.
“I'm the only candidate...who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield,” she said.
Speaking in an airplane hangar with her waiting campaign plane in the background, Clinton reacted to the reports that the suspect in the bombing in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood was of Afghan descent and that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attacks in St. Cloud, Minnesota, by reminding Americans that one group of people or religion cannot be held responsible for the actions of a few radicalized individuals.
“[L]et us remember, there are millions and millions of naturalized citizens in America from all over the world. There are millions of law-abiding peaceful Muslim Americans,” Clinton said.
She then, in a calm, deliberate voice, outlined her plan for dealing with the “lone wolf threat,” including more open partnerships with Silicon Valley in order to thwart ISIS recruiting online.
“[T]he recruiters for ISIS and these other terrorist groups look for people who online demonstrate the mental profile, the level of paranoia, the level of delusion, the level of disappointment that then is exploited by quite able terrorist recruiter, so we've got to do a much more intensive effort.”
She said Silicon Valley could help in this effort “not only to take down terrorist propaganda, but to do everything we can to intercept and prevent radicalization and recruitment.”
“I think we are at the beginning of that, but there is much more we need to do,” Clinton said. “The government cannot do this without the close participation of tech companies and experts online who can give us the tools and lead us to those who are attempting to promote attacks like we have seen.”
Clinton’s comments, demeanor, and attention to detail stood in stark relief to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s remarks early Monday morning.
As Clinton was honing a ‘we are going to keep you safe’ measured message with her statement, Trump opted for a less subtle ‘everything is on fire and they are promising to keep you safe?!’ emotional reaction.
When asked by the anchors of Fox and Friends what he would do, he launched into a version of his stump speech, slamming Clinton for refusing to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” and called for racial profiling.
“You have to hit them much harder over there,” he said. “You know, our police are amazing. Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are, they are afraid to do anything about it, because they don't want to be accused of profiling…look what's going on. Do we really have a choice? We're trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse. this isn't going to get better.”
Clinton repeated her warning that Trump’s comments not only hurt relations with Muslim communities in the United States, but they are also used to recruit more terrorists. “We know that a lot of the rhetoric we've heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular because they are looking to make this into a ‘war against Islam’,” she said. “People who number in the tens of thousands, not the tens of millions, they want to use that to recruit more fighters to their cause by turning it into a religious conflict.”
Asked whether she was worried that Trump’s more visceral approach would attract voters who agree that the government just isn’t keeping them safe, Clinton dismissed his remarks as “demagoguery.”
“You don't hear a plan from him. He keeps saying he has a secret plan,” she said. “The secret is he has no plan.”