WASHINGTON — Donald Trump outlined his proposals to battle terrorism on Monday in a speech with 131 footnotes. He was seeking credibility in his address from media sources he deplores on other days as “dishonest and corrupt.”
The presidential nominees were slugging it out Monday in battleground Rust Belt states.
Republican Trump was in Youngstown, Ohio, reading a prepared speech from a teleprompter — another practice he often scorns — in which he expanded on his temporary Muslim immigration ban, calling for “extreme, extreme vetting” for immigrants.
Democrat Hillary Clinton, making a campaign trail debut with Vice President Joe Biden, was in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where her dad, Hugh Rodham, and Biden, were raised in modest circumstances. With Biden, she visited his childhood home.
In his speech, Biden said no major party nominee “has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than Donald Trump. And what absolutely amazes me, what absolutely amazes me, that he doesn’t seem to want to learn it.”
TRUMP ON “EXTREME, EXTREME” IMMIGRANT VETTING:
Trump said he wants to ban members of terrorist groups and their sympathizers; those who don’t believe in the Constitution; those who believe Islamic Sharia replaces U.S. law; and who support “bigotry and hatred.”
Trump also said immigration should be suspended from “volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”
He did not name any nations.
During the Cold War, immigrants had to pledge they were not Communists. Trump wants to bring back ideological tests to determine if potential immigrants have “hostile attitudes towards” the U.S.
He went even further: Only those with a chance to “flourish” and who say they will be part of a “tolerant American society” should be allowed in the U.S. So there would also be a test to discern bigots or potential bigots.
Trump also wants to create a “Commission on Radical Islam” to help law enforcement and immigration officials develop “protocols” to screen for dangerous radicals.
Trump is betting his immigration crackdown in the name of security — aimed at Muslims — will continue to be helpful as it was during his GOP primary bid when he was appealing to a base vote.
Last November, in the wake of the Paris attacks, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois will “temporarily suspend” accepting new Syrian refugees.
That put him at odds with President Barack Obama and immigration advocacy groups in Illinois and agencies working in local communities with new refugee arrivals.
Rauner and more than 30 governors — all but one Republican — called for, at the least, a ban on taking them in, though they had no legal power to do so.
The White House went on the offensive to make the case that the refugees, in the screening pipeline for more than a year, face tougher security vetting than any other class of visitors to the U.S.
BIDEN ON TRUMP’S “YOU’RE FIRED”
Clinton et al have been hitting Trump over his business dealings, and, as Biden noted above, his inability or unwillingness to show he has basic subject knowledge or even an interest in studying up for the Oval Office.
Obama recently called Trump “unfit” for the presidency. Biden amplified on that point. When it comes to access to the nuclear codes, “he is not qualified to know the code. He can’t be trusted,” Biden said.
Biden, the regular Joe guy he is, made another point, about Trump’s signature reality show line, gleefully delivered, ‘You’re fired.”
“Think about everything you learned as a child. I really mean this. No matter where you were raised, how can there be pleasure in division and ‘You’re fired’?”
TRUMP’S NATO REVERSAL
Trump changed his position on NATO, claiming the alliance created a new division to deal with terror because of his criticisms and therefore is not obsolete, as he has previously charged.
I asked Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, about Trump’s assertions regarding NATO and terrorism.
“NATO has been in the business of dealing with terrorism since 9/11,” Daalder said. The idea that NATO does not deal with terrorism “is wrong,” he said.
Trump did not detail the NATO action to which he was referring. Daalder said NATO recently decided to establish a new assistant secretary general for intelligence “that has been in the works for many, many years” and not related to anything Trump “may or may not have said.”
“The fundamental mission of NATO is to protect” member states. NATO “has been engaged dealing with terrorism ever since” 9/11, Daalder said.
RealClearPolitics.com has Clinton ahead of Trump in every key battleground state, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. She has leads in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and by a bit in Iowa.