Five GOP presidential candidates provided specific ideas on how to prevent terrorist attacks, following the San Bernardino jihad shooting, while Democrats continue to push for gun control.
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump responded to the San Bernardino shooting saying that he thinks the sister and mother of the two alleged terrorists knew about the planned attack.
Law enforcement should profile and track Muslims who are suspected of terrorism, including family members of actual terrorists as well, he said during an interview on CBS.
“I think there can be profiling … [there is] something wrong with that group they saw what was happening, they didn’t want to call the police because they didn’t want to be profiling. I think that’s pretty bad. People are dead. Lot of people are dead right now. Everybody wants to be politically correct and that’s part of the problem that we have with our country.”
GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to the Democrats’ push for gun control, saying that Americans should be arming themselves, not banning guns.
“You don’t get rid of the bad guys by getting rid of our guns. You get rid of the bad guys by using our guns. And, rather than respond to radical Islam and terrorism with a commitment from the president to keep this nation safe–to kill the terrorists–instead, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to even utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
He also discussed the failed vetting process for visas in light of the developments from the San Bernardino attack, where it was discovered that one of the killers came over to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa.
“We know, for example, that the wife of one of the jihadists in San Bernardino came on a so-called fiancé visa. Well, the vetting that the administration did to her is the exact same vetting they are proposing to do for these Syrian Muslim refugees. And the vetting didn’t catch obvious errors. Like, she had on her application a made-up address. But, apparently they didn’t catch that. And yet, this president is telling us we can bring tens of thousands of refugees from Syria, when we know ISIS wants to infiltrate those refugees and carry out acts of jihad here at home… it’s this political correctness that prevents them from being serious about keeping the American people safe, and the world’s too dangerous for that.”
Cruz proposed legislation to prevent Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) responded the day after the shooting and predicted the motive behind the attack was linked to terrorism. “My first question is, is this Islamic terrorism?” Paul stated on Thursday, referring to the fact that one of the killers came from the Pakistan and spent time in Saudi Arabia.
“He touted his proposed amendment to the budget bill that would block the inflow of visitors, students and refugees from some 34 countries that he said have radical Islamic movements,” reported the Huffington Post.
Paul’s legislation would stop migration from Middle Eastern countries with jihadist movements until there is a proper and efficient vetting process in place by the U.S. government.
Dr. Ben Carson joined Fox News on Sunday, and suggested the U.S. must do something to stop the communication with terrorist groups overseas that leads to recruitment and radicalization of U.S. citizens.
He also said people must be vigilant and not be afraid to report suspicious activity. “We have to teach everyone the importance of vigilance and not being afraid to report something. Even if you get nine false alarms, if one of them turns out to be positive, it’s worth it. We have to stop demonizing people who are trying to be good citizens,” Carson told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
Carson said the U.S. must also “do a much better job of monitoring the internet and the things that cause people to be radicalize. There’s absolutely no reason we shouldn’t be putting out counter messages and no reason that we shouldn’t be attacking their servers and trying to disrupt their messaging when we see that it is radicalizing people.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) countered the Democrats argument for gun control, saying America needs ‘bomb control’ instead of gun control.
Rubio also weighed in on the need for government surveillance in light of the attack, according to CBS News.
“This is a very dangerous world that we live in,” he said.
That danger of what Rubio calls “radical Islamic terrorism” is why he has been a staunch advocate of restoring the government’s surveillance capabilities that lapsed with the June passage of the USA Freedom Act. The Florida senator chastised other Republican candidates like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for voting to take those tools away this summer.
Rubio said that the lapse in collecting metadata that resulted from the new legislation has put the country at risk and made it harder to stop future attacks.
“A week ago, we were still able to see the phone records of a potential terrorist ’cause we held them — now, you have to hope the phone company still has them. You have to argue with their chief counsel. By the time you get access to it and try to find out who they’ve been calling and who they’ve been working with, it’s too late,” Rubio said.
GOP presidential candidates former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum discussed their ideas for combatting the Islamic State following the San Bernardino attack, rather than responding to domestic policies specifically relating to the San Bernardino attack.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said instead of pushing for gun control, the U.S. should increased attacks against the Islamic State. Bush also said that Cruz’s idea of carpet bombing the ISIS militants “is not a strategy.”
Bush believes the U.S. should arm the Kurds, support Sunni tribal leaders and establish no-fly zones in Syria similar to Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s plan, according to The Press Enterprise. “But he disagrees with her assertion that people on a no-fly list should be barred from getting guns.”
The day after the attack, the LA Times reported that while addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition, “Jeb Bush opened his hawkish speech with a moment of silence for the victims, but never returned to the issue.”
However, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent most of his time addressing the Jewish audience about the shooting.
“From the time I began to watch the events unfold last night, I [was] convinced that it was a terrorist attack,” Christie said. “The president continues to wring his hands and say, ‘We’ll see.’ … But those folks dressed in tactical gear with semi-automatic weapons came there to do something.”
Christie said national defense and intelligence should be stepped up, and didn’t mention gun control legislation.
“If a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, Calif., can be a target for a terrorist attack, then every place in America is a target for a terrorist attack,” Christie warned. “We need to come to grips with the idea that we are in the midst of the next world war.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke about the attack at a campaign event Thursday night in New Hampshire, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Katich said he doesn’t believe gun control would prevent these attacks, but rather, the U.S. should focus on the communication methods used by terrorist organizations.
“When people are able to communicate without law enforcement being able to intercept what they’re doing, it’s a real problem. Solving encryption is not easy, but it has to be done,” Kasich said, adding that he would work with American tech companies such as Google to resolve the issue. “We can’t have people communicating and plotting terrorist attacks without us being able to pick it up.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke at a campaign rally in Virginia on Friday saying that the San Bernardino attack should wake people up to the fact that “we are at war.”
“The attack that happened in San Bernardino was one more reminder that we are at war,” he told voters in Woodbridge, Va. “Whether our president wants to acknowledge it or not… we are at war.”
“They don’t want to just take some land…they want to kill us every last one of us,” Huckabee warned. “I hate to break it to you, but it’s over here.”
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better unless we take this threat seriously,” he said. “I’m committed to the notion that America has to take that threat of Islamic jihad so seriously that we see it as a malignant cancer,” saying cancer should be eradicated. “Take it out do whatever you got to do.”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum joined Fox Business and said political correctness has run amuck. “It’s obvious that these are radicalized people,” Santorum said after the attack, referencing how [President Barack] Obama wouldn’t identify the attack as terrorism after the attack. “The president is in denial.”
“It’s sad that we have this political correctness run amuck that you see even our governmental agencies being afraid to go out and say what is obvious to everybody else watching this story,” Santorum said. “We’ve let political correctness cloud our judgment.”
While Santorum did say the U.S. should track individuals who have been going back and forth from the Middle East, he stressed the need to take out the enemy overseas.
Carly Fiorina held a digital town hall Wednesday evening hours after the attack and criticized Hillary Clinton for already pushing gun control before the facts about the attack were even known.
“Without knowing any of the facts of what has happened there or why, President Obama and Hillary Clinton immediately came out and made a political statement for gun control,” Fiorina said during the town hall. “Instead of Mrs. Clinton calling for more laws, why don’t we enforce the laws that we have and, as well, enforce the Second Amendment?”
The next day Fiorina joined Fox News in the morning where she “also said that those of terror watch lists should be indicted and thus prevented from buying guns,” noted the Washington Examiner.