Young women formed the word “Paris” with candles to mourn the victims of Friday’s attacks, in front of the French Embassy in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
DES MOINES, Iowa — All of the leading 2016 presidential candidates reacted after the terrorist attacks that left over 100 people dead in Paris on Friday evening.
All three of the Democrats, who are set to debate at Drake University in Iowa on Saturday night, emphasized France’s status as a staunch ally of the United States.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton pointed to the two countries’ shared values.
“All our prayers are with the people of France tonight. We must stand side by side every step of the way with France and our allies around the world to wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism,” Clinton said. “Even in this darkest night, Paris remains the City of Light. No terrorist attack will ever dim the spirit of the French people or our common commitment to the democratic values we share.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, stressed his support for France.
“My heart breaks as we continue to learn more details about the horrific attacks in Paris tonight. I am praying for the victims and families affected by this violence,” said O’Malley. “We stand with President Obama in condemning this assault on our common humanity. And we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France — liberté, égalité, and fraternité.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issued his statement on Facebook.
“We are all horrified by the cowardly attacks against innocent civilians in Paris. I offer my sympathy to the victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with the people of France, the first friend of the United States,” Sanders said.
Some of the Republican candidates suggested the attacks showed problems with President Obama’s handling of the jihadi group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Republican candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush discussed the attack in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“I’m not surprised. This is a war being created by Islamic terrorists. It’s not a law enforcement operation, and the mindset in our country at least needs to change to recognize it for what it is. This is an organized effort to destroy Western civilization, and we need to lead in this regard,” Bush said, adding, “We need to regarner the alliances, fortify those alliances, reconnect with our counterintelligence, intelligence capabilities, with our European allies, and engage in the Middle East to take out ISIS, which is the wellspring and more likely to be the wellspring of this type of activity. If it’s not them, there are other terrorist groups. This is the war of our time and we have to be serious in engaging and creating a strategy to confront it and take it out.”
Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson told reporters at an event in Florida that he would work with allies and use “every resource known to man in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources, overt resources” to defeat terrorists.
“It reminds us that there are those out there who have a thirst for innocent blood in an attempt to spread their philosophy and their will across this globe,” Carson said. “And we must redouble our efforts and our resolve to resist them. Not only to contain them, but to eliminate that kind of hatred in the world.”
Carson also suggested the attack raises concerns about America taking in Syrian refugees who are fleeing IS. The U.S. has, thus far, pledged to accept 10,000 people who are escaping Syria.
“If I were one of the leaders of the global jihadist movement and I didn’t infiltrate that group of people with my people, I — that would be almost malpractice,” Carson explained.
Some of the candidates turned to prayer, including businessman Donald Trump, who tweeted about the attacks.
“My prayers are with the victims and hostages in the horrible Paris attacks. May God be with you all,” Trump said. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, led a prayer for those affected by the attacks at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.
“Dear Lord, we keep the families in Paris in our prayers, the children who’ve been frightened to learn of the death of maybe their mom, dad, brother or sister. We know this evil can be all around us, but we know in the end it’s the strength you provide,” Kasich said, later adding, "We’ll stand with them, Lord, here across the ocean in the United States. We will do our best to hold them in our arms to be with them in this terrible time of grief and terrible tragedy. Amen.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, also took to Twitter to address the attacks.
“The terrorist attacks in France tonight are alarming and heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” Christie wrote. Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla., stressed the need to “stand with the people of France” in his statement.
“My prayers tonight are with the people of France as they come to terms with the terrible tragedy unfolding in Paris. These brutal terrorist attacks against innocent civilians are a reminder of the increasing dangers facing free peoples around the world. It is important for all Americans to stand with the people of France in this difficult time,” Rubio said. “As we learn more about the attacks and who is behind them, the United States should assist the French government in finding those who are accountable and bring them to justice. We cannot let those who seek to disrupt our way of life succeed. We must increase our efforts at home and abroad to improve our defenses, destroy terrorist networks, and deprive them of the space from which to operate.”
Rubio also released a YouTube video discussing the attacks and dubbing them a “wake-up call” on Saturday.
Sen. Ted Cruz., R-Texas, described the attacks as an “escalation” of IS aggression.
“We must now face the facts,” Cruz said. “Between the downing of the Russian jet over Egypt and this massive coordinated attack on Paris, we are seeing an unmistakable escalation of ISIS’ ambitions.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is known for his hawkish foreign policy positions, described the attacks as evidence of a global “sickness.”
“There is a sickness in the world that has to be dealt with, and the civilized world must come together to confront it. America should lead that unity,” said Graham.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina tweeted her reaction.
“I mourn with you. I pray with you. I stand with you. America must lead in the world. We must wage & win this fight against Islamic terrorism,” she wrote.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called the attacks “horrific” in a tweet.
“My thoughts & prayers are with the people of Paris. America must stand united with France as they face this truly horrific act of terrorism,” Paul tweeted.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, also took to Twitter.
“Our thoughts are with the people of France. Please say a prayer for Paris as they deal with this horrible attack,” he wrote.
Republican candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee emphasized America’s alliance with France in a tweet.
“My prayers are with the people of Paris, France. America will always have your back in the war against terrorism. Always,” Huckabee tweeted.
He also posted a lengthy response on his website criticizing Obama’s policies and calling for America to “close our borders.”
Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, said America must stay “vigilant.”
“Tonight we pray for and mourn with our French brothers and sisters. Today’s horror is another reminder that we must be vigilant against evil,” Santorum tweeted.
Republican candidate and former New York Gov. George Pataki sent his prayers.
“Coordinated attacks ongoing in Paris are horrifying. We pray for a swift resolution,” Pataki wrote on Twitter.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a fellow Republican, also weighed in.
“The Western order of democracy and liberty is under assault, and must be defended,” Gilmore tweeted.