WASHINGTON » Donald Trump spoke of Islamic State in brutal terms Monday, promising “extreme screening” to fight terrorism, and excoriated Hillary Clinton as too weak to fight the fight or even voice the problem.
“We’re in medieval times,” he said, speaking in especially bleak terms to describe terrorist attacks, a “campaign of genocide” and torturous acts committed by the group, during his first rally, in Estero, Fla., since weekend attacks in three U.S. cities.
“These attacks and many other were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system,” he said. “Immigration security is national security.”
The man arrested in the bombings in New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from Afghanistan, reportedly in 1995 when he was 7.
Trump suggested that current policy coddles terrorist suspects, including Rahami, who was wounded in a shootout and captured afterward.
Trump lamented that Rahami would get hospitalization, the best doctors in the world, a top lawyer and “probably even have room service.”
Trump promised fair trials with “very harsh treatment” and alluded to prior pledges to practice harsher interrogations, suggesting current constitutional protections are too restrictive.
It was all part of a broader theme that painted Clinton and President Barack Obama as too weak to prosecute the war on terrorism, and too politically correct to label the problem as “radical Islam.”
“Hillary Clinton talks tougher about my supporters than she does about Islamic terrorists,” Trump said.
“Weakness invites aggression,” he added. “We’re weak.”
Trump seized on a report from the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general released Monday that showed more than 800 immigrants were mistakenly granted U.S. citizenship, despite coming from countries noted as threats to national security or with high fraud rates. They were supposed to instead face deportation.
Trump cited the report to make the case that Clinton would not be able to properly vet refugees, leaving a gaping security hole for the person he accused of having “the most open borders policy of anyone ever to seek the presidency.”
Trump claimed that Islamic State would prefer that Clinton becomes president, even though the group has publicly called his presidency a priority.
“They want her so badly to be president, you have no idea,” he said. “It will be a field day.”
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