Trump calls for 'harsh treatment', labels Clinton 'weak'

TRACK RECORD: I'm the only candidate... who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield. - DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE HILLARY CLINTON
TRACK RECORD: I'm the only candidate... who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield. - DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE HILLARY CLINTON
TOUGH TALK: These are enemies, these are combatants and we have to be tough, we have to be strong. - REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE DONALD TRUMP
TOUGH TALK: These are enemies, these are combatants and we have to be tough, we have to be strong. - REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE DONALD TRUMP

WASHINGTON • Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for harsh treatment of "enemy combatants" and said the 28-year-old New York bombing suspect might be provided with "room service" in his hospital bed and "an outstanding lawyer".

"His punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation," Mr Trump said at a campaign rally near Fort Myers, Florida. "We must have speedy but fair trials, and we must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people."

Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is suspected of setting off a blast in New York City that injured 29 people last Saturday night, was arrested after a gunfight with police on Monday. He has also been linked to a bombing in New Jersey earlier on Saturday.

"We must also use whatever lawful methods are available to obtain information from the apprehended suspect to get information before it's no longer timely," Mr Trump said. "And Congress should pass measures to ensure that foreign enemy combatants are treated as such. These are enemies, these are combatants and we have to be tough, we have to be strong."

Though he did not provide specifics on Monday about which harsh treatments he favoured, Mr Trump has endorsed the use of torture against terror suspects.

Throughout his speech, he repeatedly sought to portray his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as too "weak" to mount an effective response to "radical Islamic terrorism".

Mrs Clinton, meanwhile, said at a Monday news conference in White Plains, New York, that Mr Trump's rhetoric has been "seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this a war against Islam", referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"I'm the only candidate in this race who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield," she said.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'Trump calls for 'harsh treatment', labels Clinton 'weak''. Print Edition | Subscribe