In the hours following news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, all of the major contenders in America’s present presidential race made public pronouncements on how best to combat the looming threat of political Islam in the weeks and months ahead. Perhaps predictably, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump stood at opposing poles with respect to the tone and substance of their remarks.
Speaking in Arizona, Bernie Sanders expressed sympathy for the victims of the terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with the people of Europe who have come under fire by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Sanders was in the Grand Canyon State for some last minute campaigning. According to Real Clear Politics, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is heavily favored to win today’s primary elections. His comments were re-published by Politics USA.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.”
Sanders, who presently trails Hillary Clinton in polling data for Arizona’s March 22 primary, called on nations to unite against the forces of ISIS.
“Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.”
ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by the Guardian and other news sources. Subsequent police raids have revealed weapons and bomb making materials, along with an ISIS flag.
Republican candidate Ted Cruz, who is trailing Donald Trump in the quest for the Republican nomination, directed his comments towards Muslims in general, slamming “political correctness” and calling for authorities to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” as noted by Oklahoma outlet News 9.
For his part, Bernie Sanders said that the course advocated by Ted Cruz is “unconstitutional.”
Donald Trump’s remarks about the Brussels attacks echoed sentiments he has expressed at other points during the campaign, upping the ante in light of the persistence of ISIS terrorists. While Trump has previously called for America’s borders to be closed to Muslims, his comments following the Brussels attacks appeared to suggest that a Trump Administration would close borders completely, as a temporary measure at the very least. Ted Cruz also touched on strengthening the southern border of the United States but stopped short of calling for the border to be closed.
Trump also reiterated his enthusiasm for waterboarding as an enhanced interrogation technique. The billionaire candidate also flirted with advocating other, unspecified methods of torture in subsequent comments. It’s not the first time Trump has advocated for harsh treatment of terrorism suspects.
“Waterboarding would be fine and if they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding,” Trump said in comments cited by Vox. “You have to get the information and you have to get it rapidly.”
Hillary Clinton, who appears likely to win the Democratic nomination, dismissed Donald Trump’s plan to close the borders of the United States as “unrealistic,” noting that such a move would prove detrimental to trade and foreign relations. Like Bernie Sanders, Clinton said that international cooperation is essential in the fight against ISIS.
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