ESTERO, Fla. — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday asserted that his proposed ideological tests for immigrants would prevent future terrorist attacks in the United States, while also accusing his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, of facilitating the spread of terrorist attacks in the United States through her “weakness.”
“These attacks and many others were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system, which fails to properly vet or screen the individuals or families coming into our country,” Trump said during a campaign event in Estero, Fla. “Attack after attack, from 9/11 to San Bernardino, we have seen how failures to screen who is entering our United States puts all of our citizens, everyone in this room, in danger.”
Trump said that ideological tests to assess an immigrant's “world view,” which he has proposed before, are an important component of such vetting.
The primary suspect in Saturday's New York City and New Jersey bombings, Ahmad Khan Rahami, is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, according to the FBI. The Republican nominee lamented that Rahami is likely to receive modern medical treatment and access to a lawyer.
“Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room, and he’ll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is,” Trump said. “And on top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years. And in the end, people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation.”
Trump last year proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He has since described the ban in geographic terms, saying Monday that he would restrict immigration from “dangerous countries” while focusing on the threat of radical Islam.
“We cannot let this evil continue. Nor can we let the hateful ideology of radical Islam … be allowed to reside or spread within our country. Just can’t do it,” Trump said in Estero. “We will not defeat it with closed eyes or silent voices. Anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country.”
Trump said that Clinton “caused the problem," blaming her immigration positions in part. He incorrectly stated that Clinton supports "open borders."
“She very much caused the problem, when you think about it. Her weakness, her ineffectiveness, caused the problem. And now she wants to be president? I don’t think so,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is a weak and ineffective person. And I will tell you, if you choose Donald Trump, these problems are going to go away.”
Trump said that Clinton “refuses to say the words 'radical Islam,'" and is thus unwilling to confront terrorist threats directly.
“In fact, Hillary Clinton talks tougher about my supporters than she does about Islamic terrorists. She calls the patriotic Americans who support our campaign, many of them cops and soldiers, deplorable and irredeemable — and she means it,” he told thousands of supporters gathered in Estero. “Has she ever talked that way about radical Islam? No.”
Trump also said the authorities should use “whatever lawful methods are available to obtain information” from the suspected New York and New Jersey bomber. He called on Congress to pass measures ensuring foreign enemy combatants are “treated as such.” Trump has in the past voiced support for bringing back waterboarding as an interrogation tactic.
Sean Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.