WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton is urging people who like the sound of Donald Trump’s boasts about defeating the Islamic State group to consider the difference between “real strength” and “phony strength.”
“It’s phony strength to not know what you’re talking about, and to make outrageous statements that will actually make our job harder, no matter how in the moment it sounds,” the former New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate told CNN in an interview aired Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.
“Real strength is leveling with the American people and making it clear we will defeat ISIS,” she added. “But that we’ve got to make sure that here at home, we’re not opening doors to people who feel that somehow they want to be part of this global movement because Donald Trump has said it’s a war between us and them, and that’s pretty attractive to people.”
Clinton’s remarks were aired as she and Trump, her Republican rival and a New York native, visited the memorial to the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Four hijacked airliners crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 — one into each tower, one into the Pentagon and a fourth in a field in Pennsylvania. Altogether, nearly 3,000 people were killed.
A decade later, U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan authorized by President Barack Obama. But as al-Qaida’s influence waned, the Islamic State group gained strength, exploiting the chaos of a civil war in Syria.
Trump has vowed to defeat the Islamic State group with the advice of military leaders. But he also has said he would suspend Muslim immigration into the United States, a policy he later tried to amend by saying he’d temporarily ban immigration from “areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.”
This year’s Sept. 11 anniversary falls during a pitched presidential campaign and politics hovered even though both candidates pledged to suspend political activities out of respect for the victims, first responders and their families.
Trump kept up his campaign against the media, tweeting irritably about the New York Times’s coverage on Sunday, and he was photographed giving a thumbs-up at ground zero. CNN said he had declined an opportunity for his own interview.
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