Orlando shooting: The reactions

US presidential candidates differ in stance on key issues

Trump repeats call for hardline immigration policies; Clinton focuses on fight against terror

FBI agents conducting investigations at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando after the attack on Sunday.
FBI agents conducting investigations at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando after the attack on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The United States' two rival presidential candidates were quick to weigh in on the Orlando shooting, but took vastly different approaches on issues like terrorism and gun control.

Republican nominee Donald Trump, with his usual bombast, said he had predicted the attack before calling for President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to step down.

"In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'radical Islam'. For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'radical Islam', she should get out of this race for the presidency," he said in a statement.

"Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen - and it is only going to get worse."

The billionaire businessman then doubled down on his hardline immigration policies, repeating his controversial call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

In a separate post on Twitter, Mr Trump called what happened in Orlando "just the beginning".

He said: "Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough."

But in sharp contrast to the President and Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump omitted the controversial issue of gun control.

Despite the taunts from her rival, Mrs Clinton did not refer to "radical Islam" anywhere in her statement, choosing instead to focus on the need to fight terror abroad and at home.

"That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defences at home. It also means refusing to be intimidated and staying true to our values," she said.

She also touched on two issues that resonated with the Democratic Party base: LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights and gun control.

Noting that the Orlando shooting appeared to target the LGBT community, she pledged to continue to support LGBT rights. She also echoed Mr Obama's call to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and violent criminals.

"This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets," said Mrs Clinton.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'US presidential candidates differ in stance on key issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe