Washington: Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, on Monday claimed he “predicted” the New York bombing and called for police to begin racially profiling Muslims living in the United States.
Trump made little distinction between Muslims and fundamentalists as he called for all followers of the faith to be banned from the country. He said that America, under the leadership of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had “coddled” extremists.
The billionaire said: “Once again someone we were told is OK turns out to be a terrorist. How did he get through the system?” He claimed that America’s local police forces “know who a lot of these people are”, referring to individuals intending to carry out terror attacks, but that “they are afraid to do anything because they don’t want to be accused of profiling”.
Trump said: “We are trying to be so politically correct in our country. What I said is you have to stop them from coming into our country.” He added: “Refugees from Syria, over 10,000 plus, more coming, lots of young males, poorly vetted. They’re bringing, in many cases, vicious cancer from within. We’re not winning the war, they’re winning the war.”
Obama, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, said Americans must remain “tough and resolute”. He said: “They want to inspire fear in all of us and disrupt the way we live, and undermine our values. We all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don’t succumb to that fear. As Americans we will not give in to fear.”
Clinton rejected Trump’s comments, warning that his rhetoric was only likely to drive more supporters’ into the ranks of Daesh. She said extremists were rooting for Trump to win the White House and were using some of his controversial proposals as a recruitment tool. Clinton said: “We’re going after the bad guys and we’re going to get them, but we’re not going to go after an entire religion.”
The Democratic presidential nominee urged voters not to “get diverted and distracted by the kind of campaign rhetoric we hear from the other side”.
In a hastily arranged press conference outside her campaign plane she accused Trump for using the attack to make “some kind of demagogic point”. She said: “I’m the only candidate in this race who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield. I have sat at that table in the Situation Room. I know how to do this.”
Trump took credit for having called the explosion in New York a “bomb” before authorities did. He said: “I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news.”
Immigration experts last night said there was no data to support Trump’s claim about refugees.
Research by Kathleen Newline, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, last year found that of the 784,000 refugees resettled in the US since the 11 Sept attacks in 2001, only three were arrested on terrorism charges. Two of those were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were “barely credible”.