US Presidential Candidates React to Orlando Massacre

US Presidential Candidates React to Orlando Massacre

America’s leading presidential hopefuls are among those offering prayers, condolences and other global reaction to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Early Sunday, 49 people were shot to death, and at least 53 others wounded in a shooting spree at a gay night club in Orlando.  The gunman, Omar Mateen, was a U.S. citizen and the son of Afghan parents.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told CNN, “We have to defend our country from the so-called lone wolves,” a reference to individual perpetrators of deadly criminal acts.  Clinton said U.S. residents “have the ability” to seize “a moment for all Americans to work together as one team” to combat terrorism and other violent acts

In an apparent response to presumptive Republican Party opponent Donald Trump’s charge that President Barack Obama and other Democrats refuse to use the word “radical” to describe terrorists who happen to be Muslim, Clinton said she is not afraid to use the word, but says she refuses “to demonize and demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.”  Doing so, she said, “plays right into the ISIS’ hands.”

Clinton called for citizens to reach out to Muslims in the United States “to help us defeat this threat.”  She cited the need for “common sense reform” of gun ownership laws, including a ban on assault weapons.

After President Obama did not use the term “radical” in his remarks Sunday from the White House, Republican presidential opponent Donald Trump criticized Obama’s approach to extremism and said the president  “should step down.”

Trump predicted on CNN that domestic terrorism “will only get worse because we have very weak leadership.” Trump renewed a call to stop the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States, adding “they’re coming in by the thousands.”

Trump said Muslims have to report suspicious people, and reiterated his support for strong gun ownership laws.  “Gun owners more than ever need to protect themselves.  If people in that [night club] had guns, you would not have had the same tragedy,” he said.


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