Orlando shooting

Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric draws flak from US leaders

Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of continuing "to prioritise our enemy over our allies and, for that matter, the American people". He said Mr Obama's anger should be directed at "the shooter and these killers who shouldn't be here". Mr Obama criticised Mr
Mr Obama criticised Mr Trump for peddling a "dangerous" mindset. He noted the Republican presidential nominee had proposed a ban on admitting Muslims into the US, and that Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was a US citizen.PHOTO: REUTERS
Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of continuing "to prioritise our enemy over our allies and, for that matter, the American people". He said Mr Obama's anger should be directed at "the shooter and these killers who shouldn't be here". Mr Obama criticised Mr
Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of continuing "to prioritise our enemy over our allies and, for that matter, the American people". He said Mr Obama's anger should be directed at "the shooter and these killers who shouldn't be here".PHOTO: REUTERS

Obama denounces proposed ban on Muslim immigrants; Republican leaders refuse to endorse Trump's remarks

WASHINGTON • President Barack Obama and other Democrats were joined by Republican leaders disconcerted by Mr Donald Trump in condemning his anti-Muslim rhetoric following the Orlando shooting.

In a rare public display of fury on Tuesday, Mr Obama denounced the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for peddling a "dangerous" mindset.

"We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence," said Mr Obama, without mentioning Mr Trump by name.

"Where does this stop?" he said of Mr Trump's approach, noting the White House nominee had proposed a ban on admitting Muslims into the United States, and that Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was a US citizen.

"Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?" he asked.

AGAINST DEMOCRATIC IDEALS

We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from immigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence... It doesn't reflect our democratic ideals. It won't make us more safe. It will make us less safe.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA


AGAINST COUNTRY'S PRINCIPLES

I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country's interest... I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country.

REPUBLICAN HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN


PRIORITISING THE ENEMY

President Obama claims to know our enemy, and yet he continues to prioritise our enemy over our allies and, for that matter, the American people.

PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE DONALD TRUMP

"Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that's not the America we want... It won't make us more safe. It will make us less safe."

Speaking in Pittsburgh, Mrs Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump's Democratic rival, gave a blistering denunciation of her own, assailing his temperament, ridiculing his proposals and arguing that he had failed to meet the gravity of the moment.

"History will remember what we do in this moment," she told supporters, asking "responsible Republican leaders" to join her in condemning Mr Trump.

After the Orlando attack, she noted, he suggested Mr Obama sympathised with Islamist terrorists.

"Even in a time of divided politics, this is way beyond anything that should be said by someone running for president," said Mrs Clinton.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has refused to endorse Mr Trump, called his remarks about Mr Obama "absolutely over the top" .

Unbowed by the criticism, Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of continuing "to prioritise our enemy over our allies and, for that matter, the American people".

Continuing in the same vein at a rally, he said: "I watched President Obama today, and he was more angry at me than he was at the shooter. The level of anger, that's the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers who shouldn't be here."

While Mr Trump has so far voiced support for gun rights, he said in a Twitter post yesterday that he would be meeting the National Rifle Association about new restrictions to prevent people on a terrorism watch list from buying guns.

Mr Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric drew fire from some senior Republicans even as others sought to distance themselves from him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the US' highest-ranking elected Republican, said on Tuesday that Mr Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigrants was not in the country's interest, nor did it reflect his party's principles.

"There's a really important distinction that every American needs to keep in mind: This is a war with radical Islam. It's not a war with Islam," said Mr Ryan.

Senator Jeff Flake, who has been among the most outspoken in his party about withholding his endorsement of Mr Trump, said in a Twitter post that he was "appreciative" that Mr Ryan had spoken out.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to talk about Mr Trump, an indication of the precarious position in which Mr Trump has placed Republican elected officials.

NEW YORK TIMES, BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2016, with the headline 'Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric draws flak from US leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe