Hillary Clinton Urges National Unity, Gun Control, Better Spying In First Speech After Orlando Shooting

REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

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CLEVELAND — In her first public speech since Saturday night’s terrorist shooting in Orlando, Fla. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton urged Americans to unify and to support gun control and an “intelligence surge.”

In the Monday afternoon address at the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center, Clinton began by saying she intended to give a different speech but “today is not a day for politics” because of Orlando shooting, in which an ISIS supporter gunned down 49 people at a gay night club.

The Islamic State will continue to attempt to radicalize people in uncoordinated attacks, Clinton said, noting that authorities are not sure about “mix of motives” that drove Orlando killer Omar Mateen.

Clinton described ISIS as “awful” and “medieval” and said the United States must defeat the radical Islamic group. The Orlando massacre “makes us furious,” Clinton said, and America must attack the “virus” of ISIS, but also use American values in doing so.

Clinton said the U.S, government will defeat ISIS but warned that, as the organization loses political and geographic ground in the Middle East, more “lone wolf” attacks by radicalized individuals like Mateen are likely.

She called stopping suck attacks a “top priority.”

Clinton briefly described a plan to keep Americans safe, which involves better coordination among federal authorities, state authorities, local governments and business and religious leaders to thwart attacks on soft targets such as night clubs, theaters and churches.

She said the United States must stem flow of ISIS supporters to Western Europe and the United States. She strongly called out calls out the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for funding radical Islam and jihadist terrorists.

She said law enforcement officials need the right tools to fight terrorism. The presumptive Democratic nominee specified an “intelligence surge” to stop terrorists and stricter domestic gun control, “especially” concerning “assault weapons.”

“If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go out and buy a gun,” Clinton declared, to raucous applause. She also urged the closing of gun show “loopholes.”

Clinton did not say how such gun-control policies would have stopped Mateen, reportedly a security guard.

The Democratic presidential candidate touted herself as a great ally of the “LGBT community” in her speech in Cleveland.

Clinton also took a swipe at presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by saying that millions of peace-loving Muslims live in America and are in the best position to block and report terrorism.

Threats to ban all Muslims will radicalize more Muslims, Clinton said.

Hate crimes against Muslims play “right into the terrorists’ hands,” she also said.

In closing, Clinton noted that, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she had worked with President George W. Bush and the Republican governor of New York at the time in a spirit of bipartisan unity,

In the wake of Saturday’s shooting in Orlando, America must “get back to the spirit of 9/12,” Clinton urged.

In a speech introducing Clinton, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, also a Democrat promised that Clinton will protect Americans from terrorism “with tolerance and love.”

Clinton’s speech appeared to begin with heckling of some kind from a small group in the back of the audience. The group began yelling something as Clinton said she was “delighted to be in Cleveland,” The rest of the audience quickly drowned Clinton out with a pro-Clinton cheer.

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