US presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have expressed very different views about the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
An alleged Daesh sympathizer, armed with assault weapons, stormed the Pulse Club on Sunday, killing 49 people and injured 53 others at a nightclub, marking the worst ever mass shooting in US history.
On Monday, Clinton gave a speech at a company that manufactures military helmets and other safety equipment in Cleveland, calling for unity and outreach to Muslims in the wake of the attacks while urging stricter gun-control measures.
“This is a moment when all Americans need to stand together. No matter how many times we endure attacks like this, the horror never fades,” the former secretary of state said. “Now we have to steel our resolve to respond.”
To help confront domestic extremism, Clinton said Americans needed assistance from Muslim communities inside the US.
“We should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them,” she said.
The former first lady then took a swipe at Trump’s proposed ban on all Muslims entering the US, saying, “Inflammatory, anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans… from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims, who love freedom and hate terror.”
Trump hits back
Having made a reputation for his Islamophobic remarks, Trump took the opportunity to spew more explosive and forceful political rhetoric against Muslims.
“I refuse to be politically correct,” Trump said in his speech on Monday before going on a tirade against Muslims, while taking jabs at Clinton.
“The current politically correct response cripples our ability to talk and to think and act clearly,” he told his supporters at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. “If we don’t get tough, and if we don’t get smart, and fast, we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left.”
Equating all Muslims seeking entry to America to potential terrorists, the real estate mogul said “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”
The former reality TV star then focused his attacks on Clinton, accusing her of undermining America’s security with her plans to let in more foreigners and exercise tighter gun laws.
“Hillary Clinton’s catastrophic immigration plan will bring vastly more radical Islamic immigration into this country, threatening not only our society but our entire way of life,” he said.
“She wants to take away Americans’ guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us,” Trump added.
Trump is a firm advocate of gun rights and has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the biggest gun lobby in the US.