Clinton Says Trump’s Rhetoric Makes America Less Safe After New York Bombing

“We know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists.”

Matt Rourke/AP

Hillary Clinton responded Monday to the weekend bombing in New York City by contrasting her years of national security work with Donald Trump’s lack of experience and incendiary comments that she said have been “seized on by terrorists.”

“I’m the only candidate in this race who’s been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield,” Clinton told reporters on an airport tarmac in White Plains, New York.

“We know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists,” she said, “in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists and violent terrorists, people who number in maybe 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.”

Clinton continued, “That’s why I’ve been very clear: We’re going after the bad guys and we’re going to get them. But we’re not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it’s wanting in order for them to enhance their positions. Secondly, we know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists.”

Clinton didn’t shy away from taking a harsh tone about the threat of terrorism, saying, “We will defeat the evil, twisted ideology of the terrorists.” But she drew a contrast with Trump’s hyperbolic claims of a widespread imminent threat. Trump had described the attack as a “cancer from within” earlier in the morning and accused Clinton of being too lax on immigration. Clinton was quick to dismiss that claim, noting that there are millions of law-abiding naturalized citizens in the United States. Trump essentially called for racial profiling as the solution, whereas Clinton said “it is crucial that we continue to build up trust between law enforcement and Muslim American communities.”

If elected, Clinton said she’d work closely with tech companies to root out terrorist propaganda online, and she added that the government needs to invest more effort into hunting down so-called “lone wolf” operators.

“Let us be vigilant but not afraid,” she said. “We have faced threats before.”