Clinton, Sanders Clash With Trump On Brussels ISIS Attacks

ISIS took the credit for Tuesday’s bombing in Brussels, in terrifying coordinated attacks on an airport and public transport system, leaving 34 people dead and 230 injured. It marks the Islamic State Group’s deadliest effort since the November 13 attacks in Paris. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called the terrorist attacks a “dark moment for our country.”

ISIS claimed responsibility yesterday afternoon through Amaq, a news agency affiliated with the Islamic State. According to an article in Boston Globe, the news bulletin stated that the attacks were the work of suicide bombers.

Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner for the presidential election, followed the Brussels attacks by going on what journalist Jordan Weissmann described as a “Fearmongering TV Tour.” In an article for Slate, Weissman said that Trump called Brussels a “horrible city.”

Trump said in an interview on Fox and Friends that Brussels is a “total disaster.”

“I will tell you, I’ve been talking about this for a long time. And look at Brussels. Brussels was a beautiful city. A beautiful place with zero crime. And now it’s a disaster city. It’s a total disaster. And we have to be very—we have to be very careful in the United States. We have to be very, very vigilant as to who we allow into this country.”

On NBC’s Today, Trump told Matt Lauer that “Belgium is no longer Belgium.”

“We have to have very vigilant and careful about who we let into our country. I know Brussels well. And Brussels is a total mess. And I’m not talking about the attack today. I’m talking about generally speaking. It is a city that used to be one of the finest, one of the most beautiful and one of the safest cities in the world. And now it’s a catastrophic, very dangerous city where the police have very little control.”

Trump said that the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek had “coddled” Paris attacks terror suspect Salah Abdeslam before his arrest. The Guardian reported that this had some resonance, although Scotland Yard rejected Trump’s assertion that the loyalty of Britain’s Muslim community was questionable and police were afraid to go in certain areas of the city.

According to the Boston Globe, Trump indicated to Lauer that the use of torture was not out of line. Abdeslam, he said, should be questioned using waterboarding techniques.

“Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine. If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people.”

The Boston Globe said that Trump’s policies “could violate international law and has been condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. But it produces a gut-level appeal among his supporters, who crave a powerful, retaliatory solution to terrorism.”

Bernie Sanders appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and said that people are afraid for good reason. “ISIS is a disgusting, barbaric organization.”

The Daily Beast reported that Sanders told Kimmel the Constitution of the United States cannot be undermined.

“At the end of the day, we cannot allow the Trumps of the world to use these incidents to attack all of the Muslim people in the world. That is unfair. To imply that if somebody is a Muslim they’re a terrorist, that is an outrageous statement.”

On NBC’s Today, Hillary Clinton promoted an attitude of calm strength and seasoned experience. She urged the beefing up of security measures in what she called “soft targets,” meaning places that are vulnerable to attack.

“We have to be absolutely strong and smart and steady in how we respond. We’ve got to work this through consistent with our values.”

She added that shutting down borders to thwart ISIS would be “unrealistic.” She told Lauer that the U.S. needed to support allies during times like these, rather than alienate them.

“We’ve got to stand in solidarity with our European allies as they have stood with us on so many occasions. I know that Americans have every reason to be frightened by what they see. … We have to intensify our efforts to keep America safe.”

Hillary Clinton is at Stanford University today, speaking about counterterrorism.

[Image via Joseph Sohm/]