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Donald Trump says Orlando attack a reason to close borders, tighten intelligence

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After briefly expressing sympathy for and solidarity with the people of Orlando, Donald Trump used Sunday’s Pulse nightclub massacre as reason to double-down Monday on his desires to ban Muslim immigrants and broaden domestic intelligence gathering.

In a speech at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire that was billed as an attack on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, presumptive Republican nominee Trump led with Orlando, focused on radical Islam as the cause of the Orlando and San Bernardino massacres, then turned to attack Clinton and President Barack Obama.

In his 30-minute televised address, Trump portrayed bald anger as he spoke.  He called the Pulse massacre “a disgrace.”

He blamed Obama, for allowing and encouraging Muslims to immigrate to the United States from countries known for terrorism, and for allowing radical Islam to grow here. And he said Clinton would only make it worse.

“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact, and it’s a fact we need to talk about,” Trump said. “We have a dysfunctional immigration system which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens.”

He called the migration of Muslims an assault on the LGBT community above and beyond the massacre on Orlando’s popular gay nightclub, because, he said, so many Muslims hate gay people. And he claimed his tough stance would be far more appreciated by the LGBT community than Clinton’s willingness to allow in what Trump said are radical Islamic terrorists “who enslave women and murder gays.”

He also insisted Clinton’s call for banning assault weapons was wrong, and said he would be meeting with the National Rifle Association soon to how Americans can defend themselves “in this time of terror.”

He called the Pulse massacre “a strike at the heart and soul of who we are as a nation. It is an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity. It is an attack on the right of every single American to live in peace and safety in their own country.

“We need to respond to this attack on America as one united people – with force, purpose, clarity and determination,” he continued. “But the current politically correct response cripples our ability to talk and think and act clearly.”

He renewed his call for banning Muslim immigrants from any country that has radical Islamic elements, including allies, until, he said, the nation’s ability to check their backgrounds can be far more secure.

He called for a foreign affairs policy that would end nation building and focus all efforts on building an international effort to destroy radical Islam.

And, for a couple of minutes, he talked about Orlando.

“So many people dead, so many people gravely injured, so much carnage,” Trump said, “such a disgrace.”

“The horror is beyond description. The families of these wonderful people are totally devastated. Likewise, our whole nation, and indeed the whole world, is devastated,” he continued. “We express our deepest sympathies to the victims, the wounded, and their families. We mourn, as one people, for our nation’s loss – and pledge our support to any and all who need it.

And then he called for a moment of silence.

And then he came out swinging.

“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,” he said. “Many of the principles of Radical Islam are incompatible with Western values and institutions.”

“The bottom line is that Hillary supports the policies that bring the threat of Radical Islam into America, and allow it to grow overseas,” Trump said.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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