Clinton says she’s qualified to fight terrorists, accuses Trump of coddling them

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the media before boarding her campaign plane at the Westchester County airport in White Plains, New York, U.S. September 19, 2016. © Carlos Barria
Hillary Clinton has accused GOP candidate Donald Trump of giving “aid and comfort to Islamic terrorists in his use of anti-Muslim rhetoric.” She says that Trump helps recruit new fighters, and claims she is the “only candidate to take terrorists off the battlefield.”

“We will defeat the evil, twisted ideology of the terrorists,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Monday at a press conference on the campaign trail, according to Politico. “I am the only candidate in this race who’s been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield. I have sat at that table in the Situation Room.”

Her remarks come after a weekend of violent attacks in three states that have caused both candidates to make the case to voters about their expertise to manage homegrown terrorist plots. Clinton touted her security credentials and said that Trump was using the incidents to make “some kind of demagogic point.”

Clinton has often mentioned her role in the 2011 raid that led to the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

As to whether she is qualified to fight terrorists while she occupied leadership positions in government it is worth examining her history.

As a New York senator she voted for the Iraq War, which lacked UN endorsement and destroyed the Iraqi state, giving rise to a Sunni insurgency, costing thousands of American and Iraqi lives and trillions of dollars. During her stint as secretary of state, the US government supported the so-called Arab Spring uprisings. The turmoil aftermath gave rise to ISIS, which took over much of Iraq and Syria.

Then there is Libya, where Clinton supported NATO bombings, which led to the overthrow of Gaddafi. Much of the country is controlled by ISIS-style militants. Clinton’s handling of the September 11 attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, which saw the murder of four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, and lying about some of its facts afterward, left her open to widespread criticism. 

READ MORE: Tragic failure of leadership: House committee blasts Obama administration and Clinton over Benghazi report

Clinton has also boasted of advocating for the arming of rebels against Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

During question time, the Democratic presidential candidate was asked by a Bloomberg reporter whether she was concerned that “this weekend’s attacks or potential incidents in the coming weeks might be an attempt by ISIS or ISIS, or really any other group, maybe the Russians, to influence the presidential race in some way and presumably try to drive votes to Donald Trump, who is, as you’ve said before, widely seen as perhaps being somebody who they would be more willing to – or see as an easier person to be against?”

Clinton said nothing to correct the reporter on the clumsiness of lumping together ISIS, a terrorist organization, and Russia, a country in alliance with the US against the ISIS insurgency, in one sentence – but said she didn’t want to speculate.

“I think it is important for voters to know and hear this and weigh it in making their choice in November: We know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS,” said Clinton, according to MediaLite.

“We know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists,” she repeated. “We’ve heard that from former CIA director Michael Hayden, who made it a very clear point when he said Donald Trump is being used as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists.”

Trump’s campaign said Clinton was accusing him of treason, going beyond the bounds of acceptable campaigning and trying to change the subject from her own failures.

In a Fox and Friends telephone interview, Trump called for tougher policing, including profiling foreigners who look like they have connections to terrorism or certain Middle Eastern nations.

“Knock the hell out of ‘em,” Trump said.

“We don’t want to do any profiling,” he said of current US policy. “If somebody looks like he has a massive bomb on his back, we won’t go up to that person and say I’m sorry but if he looks like he comes from that part of the world we’re not allowed to profile…Give me a break.”