Hillary Clinton accused GOP presidential candidates of “dangerous” rhetoric in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attacks.
On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
That sparked a war of words with NYPD Chief Bill Bratton on Cruz’s Wednesday trip to New York, with Bratton accusing Cruz of “maligning a whole population group.”
“A religion. That’s not the American way … I don’t recall Mr. Cruz in uniform at any time fighting for his country,” Bratton said on The John Gambling Show.
In a counterterrorism speech today at Stanford, Clinton noted that “since 9/11, law enforcement has worked hard to build trustful and strong relationships with American Muslim communities.”
“As the director of the FBI told Congress, anything that erodes that trust makes their job more difficult. We need every American community invested in this fight, not fearful and sitting on the sidelines,” she said.
“So when Republican candidates like Ted Cruz call for treating American Muslims like criminals and for racially profiling predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, it’s wrong. It’s counterproductive. It’s dangerous.”
Clinton summarized comments from an NYPD spokesman like so: “That kind of blanket bigotry would treat the city’s nearly 1,000 Muslim police officers as threats.”
“Commissioner Bill Bratton of the NYPD was even more blunt this morning. He said, ‘Senator Cruz doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,'” she added.
“Demonizing Muslims also alienates partners and undermines moderates we need around the world in the fight against ISIS. There’s been a lot of talk from both Republicans and Democrats about the importance of building coalitions with Muslim nations. Having actually done this, I can tell you insulting allies and partners is not a good way to start.”
Clinton then turned to Donald Trump, who called Brussels “a total disaster” because of immigration and said “waterboarding would be fine” for Paris bombing suspect and Brussels cell member Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested days before Tuesday’s terror attacks at the airport and a metro station.
“Another thing we know that does not work, based on lots of empirical evidence, is torture. Many intelligence, military and law enforcement experts have attested to this fact. It also puts our own troops and increasingly our own civilians at greater risk,” she said.
“I’m proud to have been part of the administration that banned torture after too many years in which we had lost our way. If I’m president, the United States will not condone or practice torture anywhere in the world. Even when we’re up against opponents who don’t respect human life or human rights, torture is not the right choice.”
Clinton also took a shot at Trump questioning the need for U.S. involvement in NATO, calling it “one of the best investments America has ever made.”
“Turning our back on our alliances or turning our alliance into a protection racket would reverse decades of bipartisan American leadership and send a dangerous signal to friend and foe alike,” she said. “Putin already hopes to divide Europe, if Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin. It will make America less safe and the world more dangerous.”
Trump, who spent most of the day going after Cruz, tweeted in response: “Just watched Hillary deliver a prepackaged speech on terror. She’s been in office fighting terror for 20 years- and look where we are!”