U.S. presidential candidates were quick to react to the deadly attacks in Brussels on Tuesday. And Donald Trump’s reaction was the most extreme.
“I would close up our borders,” Trump said on Fox News. “We are taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they’re from or who they are.
“We have to be very, very vigilant with who we let into this country,” he continued. “Brussels is a great example. Brussels was an absolutely crime-free city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And now you look at it and it’s just a disaster.”
The Republican frontrunner, who had called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States last year following the terror attacks in Paris, reiterated his vow that if elected president, the United States would bring back waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists.
“I would use waterboarding,” Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “And I would try to expand the laws to go beyond waterboarding.”
Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)March 22, 2016
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for the United States to label its enemies.
That ends on January 20, 2017, when I am sworn in as president: https://t.co/FRA5WTKjgP— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz)March 22, 2016
Cruz elaborated in a lengthy Facebook post:
For the terrorists, the identities of the victims were irrelevant. They — we — are all part of an intolerable culture that they have vowed to destroy.
For years, the west has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either.
Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods.
We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here.
We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence.
We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.
We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration.
And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS.
The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we can be are at an end. Our country is at stake.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the United States must “redouble” its efforts to “identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil.”
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich)March 22, 2016
“I think we have to intensify and broaden our strategy,” Hillary Clinton said on ABC. “This is a coordinated act of terrorism.
“There has to be some honest reckoning for what works and what doesn’t,” the former secretary of state said.
Clinton said Trump’s call for the military to bring back waterboarding is dangerous.
“Torture’s not effective,” she said. “That’s like an open recruitment poster for terrorists.”
Clinton also dismissed Trump’s call for the United States to close its borders.
“That shows a lack of understanding for how our system does work,” she said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the Tuesday attacks “barbaric” and “another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
“We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times,” Sanders said in a statement. “Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.”
Speaking in Havana, President Obama briefly addressed Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels.
“The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” Obama said. “We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible.
“This is yet another reminder that the world must unite,” the president continued. “We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.”