Clinton Condemns ‘Radical Jihadists’ in Ohio

     CLEVELAND (CN) — With a nation mourning the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton laid out a plan Monday to address “lone wolf” terrorists and the “metastasizing” threat posed by “radical jihadists.”
     “Today is not a day for politics,” Clinton told supporters gathered for the previously scheduled campaign event at the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center. “On Sunday, Americans woke up to a nightmare that’s become mind-numbingly familiar.”
     Clinton was, of course, referencing Omar Mateen’s ruthless shooting spree at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Mateen opened fire inside the crowded club at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, using a pistol and a semi-automatic assault rifle he had purchased legally.
     He claimed the lives of 49 young clubgoers and injured 53 others before police finally raided the building and killed him after a tense 3-hour standoff. It was during this standoff that Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.
     The FBI has confirmed past investigations of New York-born Mateen, but new evidence suggests that the 29-year-old embraced violence more out of struggle with his sexual identity than allegiance to radical jihadists. Numerous witness accounts since Sunday have reported that Mateen was a “regular” at Pulse, and that he had profiles on gay-dating apps like Grindr.
     Though Clinton gave an impassioned plea for stricter gun-control laws Monday, the former secretary also took steps to appear tough on terror.
     The move seemed calculated to respond to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
     In addition to misinforming his base that Mateen “was born in Afghan,” Trump blasted the left for its supposed reluctance to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
     Clinton told CNN earlier on Monday morning that she was “happy” to use the terms “radical jihadism” or “radical Islamism.”
     She echoed this position for the audience in Cleveland, saying “the barbarity we face from radical jihadists is profound.”
     Urging U.S. leadership to resolve the political conflicts that fuel Islamic State recruitment efforts, Clinton also spoke of the need to maintain missile campaigns in ISIS-controlled territories, and she called for the United States to better support “friends” that are fighting to take and hold ground from the militant group.
     Clinton pledged that she would prioritize identifying and stopping “lone-wolf terrorists” if elected president, dedicating a team from the public and private sectors to the task.
     She also highlighted three issues necessary to achieve this goal.
     First, Clinton would work with U.S. allies to dismantle networks that move money, propaganda, arms and fighters around the world. “The only way to do this is by working closely with partners,” Clinton said. “Strengthening our alliances, not weakening them or walking away from them.”
     Second, Clinton would harden U.S. defenses at home and provide more support to first responders and law enforcement. She stressed the importance of helping local officials get access to intelligence from the federal government, and also taking steps to protect vulnerable targets like nightclubs, malls, movie theaters, schools and houses of worship.
     Tighter gun restrictions are essential here, Clinton said, saying the government must close loopholes that allow individuals to purchase guns without a background check. “Weapons of war have no place on our streets,” she added.
     As to interrupting terrorist-recruitment efforts, Clinton called out the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis for supporting radical schools and mosques, and for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from funding extremist organizations.
     Muslim-American communities are the most likely to recognize the “insidious” effects of radicalization, and the best positioned to help counter it, Clinton said, noting the importance of increasing contacts with these groups.
     Clinton closed her remarks by echoing President Barack Obama’s comment that “an attack on any American is an attack on all Americans.”
     Though she took a jab at GOP front-runner, Clinton took care not to speak his name.
     “We are not a land of ‘winners’ and ‘losers,'” Clinton said. “We should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential and we have a responsibility to help others do so as well.”

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