Presidential Candidates React to Orlando Shooting
On Sunday, presidential candidates reacted in various different ways to the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which a lone gunman walked into a nightclub and shot and killed 49 people.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton took to Twitter to voice her concern for the victims, saying that she woke up to the devastating news from Florida and her thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. After more information about the shooting was released, Clinton issued a statement saying that the murders were "an act of terror" and "also an act of hate."
"For now, we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad. That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home," Clinton said. She concluded her statement by calling for stricter gun control reforms, saying the event "reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets."
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump also weighed in on the shooting, touting the "congrats" he had received for "being right on radical Islamic terrorism." Trump demanded more toughness and vigilance and said that he was praying for all of the victims and their families. Before President Obama addressed reporters from the White House on the Orlando shooting, Trump asked on Twitter if President Obama would "finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism" and said that if he doesn't he should "resign immediately in disgrace." Trump also spoke about unconfirmed reports of the shooter declaring "Allah hu Akbar" as he opened fire on the Pulse nightclub.
Trump's campaign sent out a long statement repeating his call for President Obama to step down, criticizing the chief executive for having "disgracefully refused to even say the words 'Radical Islam.'" In the same statement, Trump also called on Clinton to drop out of the presidential race for the same reason. Trump also said on Twitter that he "called" the attack and "asked for the ban" of any Muslims entering America.
"Hilary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term. And we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing," Trump said. He also implied that he would decrease immigration from the Middle East because "since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States." Trump also claimed that "what happened in Orlando is just the beginning" and said that "our leadership is weak and ineffective."
Responding to Trump, Clinton's communication director, Jennifer Palmieri, criticized him in her own statement released Sunday evening. "Donald Trump put out political attacks, weak platitudes and self-congratulations," Palmieri said of his response to the Orlando shooting.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also weighed in on the tragedy when speaking on NBC's 'Meet the Press'. Sanders called the murders "horrific" and "unthinkable" and mentioned his previous support for bans on selling automatic firearms in America. Libertarian presidential nominee and former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson said that the killing was "cowardly and infuriating" and warned against politicizing the incident.