The worst shooting in U.S. history — the attack that occurred eight days ago at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida — is testing the two candidates for president, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton responded quickly on Twitter after hearing the news that a gunman had killed 49 people in a gay club. Trump and Clinton’s responses to the tragedy were drastically different. Trump was quick to highlight the fact that the attacker was an American son of Afghan immigrants who apparently had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State. The Republican candidate focused on the implications of the shooting on national security.
“Horrific incident in FL,” Trump tweeted. “Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?”
Shortly after tweeting the above message, Trump tweeted the following message, which received heavy criticism from many.
“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
Like many of Trump’s tweets, this provoked both praise from his followers and outrage from critics who wondered how he could focus on himself in a tragedy like this. One of these critics was gay rights activist George Takei, who is known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek series.
“Once again, Donald, you have shown why you cannot lead us. 50 people are dead, and you bask in congratulations,” tweeted George Takei.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Monday rejected four proposed laws seeking to establish greater controls and checks for gun ownership in the U.S. With 53 votes in favor and 47 against, the threshold of 60 votes was not reached. The failed proposal is the latest in a long string of failed attempts at enacting tighter curbs on firearms in the United States, CNN said. TIME reported that the Senate found itself gridlocked over gun control, with each party voting down each other’s proposals to curb gun violence.
Hillary Clinton wasn’t too happy after the gun control measures failed to pass and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee responded to the situation with a one-word statement, “Enough.” She followed this response by tweeting the names of the 49 victims killed in the Orlando shooting.
The gun control measures would have strengthened background checks and had been structured in a way that aimed to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. Republicans and their allies in the NRA said that Democrats were too restrictive and the proposal violated the constitutional right to bear arms. Democrats, on the other hand, criticized the Republican plans as being “too soft.”
“It’s always the same. After each tragedy, we try, we Democrats try to pass sensible gun safety measures. Sadly, our efforts are blocked by the Republican Congress who take their marching orders from the National Rifle Association,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying.
In his reply, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that the Democrats measures were ineffective and that the government legislators were not sincere in their efforts.
“Instead of using this as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad,” McConnell said, before adding that Republican senators “are pursuing real solutions that can help keep Americans safer from the threat of terrorism.”
Clinton’s campaign has been very outspoken and strong on their stance to enforce stricter gun laws and she has previously said that if elected president, one of her top priorities would be to fight against the “lone wolf” attacks like the one in Orlando. The former Secretary of State has said she will strengthen background checks, hold irresponsible dealers and manufactures accountable, and keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists as well as domestic abusers, violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.
Congress has not passed new gun restrictions since a 2007 expansion of the government’s automatic background check database to include individuals with a history of mental illness and felons, Raw Story reports. Monday’s vote showed that the Senate is divided and highlights political tensions on the issue of gun control, which continues to be a hot topic in the ongoing campaign for the presidential election next November.
[Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images]