Republican presidential hopefuls laid out some of their national security priorities along with criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy during the Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum Thursday in Washington.
Businessman Donald Trump, who was introduced as the GOP frontrunner, took aim at Clinton’s record as secretary of State and her private email scandal in his speech.
“What she did is criminal with the emails. She shouldn’t be allowed to run,” he said.
“She traveled a whole lot, nothing got done. The world blew up around her,” he added.
Trump said Clinton is going to continue to support Obama’s policy positions.
“She can’t go against him because boom, she gets indicted, so when you see Hillary backing up essentially everything he says and he has got control of her, I mean, it’s total control,” he said.
“Remember you have a six-year statue of limitations. She’s fighting for her life. If she doesn’t become president she could have a real problem. Does that make any sense to anybody, huh? Because what she did was just wrong, ok? And you know she’s been involved in corruption her whole life – whether it’s Whitewater. I mean, her whole life is corruption.”
Trump explained how he would have handled the Iran negotiations differently, arguing that the Obama administration should have pushed Iran “on day one” to release the U.S. citizens it has held captive.
“They are going to say no, we are not giving, and we are going to say bye bye bye, call us when you are ready. Then we go up and double and triple up the sanctions and I guarantee you within 48 hours they are calling begging us to come back to the table,” Trump said. “If I win, before I take office, those prisoners, they are going to be back.”
He also predicted that he would become the GOP nominee. “I’m going to win. I am unless something happens, you know, walk across the street, the wrong thing happens but I’ll tell you I have the great Secret Service. You know, it’s nice when you’re number one; they give you Secret Service. I never saw so many people, talented people, great people,” he said.
“I believe I’m going to win. I really have just a great feeling about it and my life has been about winning. I’ve won and my life has been about winning and that’s what I want to do for the country.”
Trump told the crowd he wants their support but not their money.
“You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine. Five months ago I was with you,” he said.
Trump received boos for his answer about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a move required by law since 1995 for which presidents have invoked security waivers.
“You know what I want to do? I want to wait till I meet with Bibi, you know, I’m leaving for Israel in a very short period of time,” he said, snapping at those jeering, “Who’s the wise guy? Do me a favor, just relax, okay? You’ll like me very much, believe me.”
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina named a series of Obama administration actions she is “angry” about, including the decision to accept Syrian refugees without an adequate screening process.
“The murder, the mayhem, the danger that we see unfolding in Paris, Beirut and San Bernardino, are the direct consequence of this administration’s policies. You cannot lead from behind,” she said.
Fiorina argued that Clinton and Obama declared victory in Iraq for political reasons, contrary to the advice of “every military expert.”
“ISIS gains their legitimacy, their power, from their territory which they call their caliphate, we must deny them territory,” she said.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he would win a general election matchup against Clinton.
“If I win this nomination, I will take it to Hillary Clinton and I will whup her,” Bush said.
Bush also repeated his call for the U.S. to declare war on ISIS.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed to shred the Iran deal if he takes office.
“The days of giving the ayatollah of Iran more respect than the prime minister of Israel will be over. I will hold Iran accountable for the American hostages it has taken, and for its arming and funding of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. I will impose crippling sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” he said.
“When I am president, I will speak out against Palestinian terror in no uncertain terms, and will never confuse the victim and the victimizer. This means, as part of rebuilding our alliance with Israel, I will put the peace process in perspective,” he added.
Rubio criticized the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel.
“Instead of standing up to those who single out Israel, the Obama administration takes the path of least resistance. It throws up its hands and says, in essence, ‘not our problem,’” he said.
Rubio vowed to take a different approach to the United Nations.
“There will be no more complicity in attacks on Israel. Dictators, rogues, and terror sponsors will be publicly shamed. The United States will leave and defund UN entities that attack Israel or promote anti-Semitism,” he said.
Rubio also pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I will help ensure that Jerusalem remains the Jewish State’s undivided and eternal capital,” he said.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said the Obama administration has “no understanding” of the conflict in the Middle East.
Carson declined to take a position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m not here today to debate a one-state or two-state solution,” he said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said America’s enemies “are at war with us, and I believe this country needs a wartime president.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he is convinced the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., were a terrorist attack.
“If a center for the mentally disabled in San Bernardino, California, can be a target for a terrorist attack, then every place in America is a target for a terrorist attack,” Christie said. “We need to come to grips with the idea that we are in the midst of the next world war.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for the U.S. to lead the formation of a military coalition to fight ISIS.
“There can be no doubt this is an effort to destroy our very way of life,” he said.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York Gov. George Pataki also addressed the forum.