TEL AVIV – The Orlando attack, in which first generation U.S. citizen Omar Sadiqqui Mateen shot at least 50 people in a gay club, will help Donald Trump’s chances of becoming president, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. said.
“If the motive for this mass killing had been hatred for the LGBT community, this would have played to Hillary Clinton’s benefit,” said Michael Oren, who now serves as a member of Knesset from the center-right Kulanu party.
“Given that it is becoming clear that the motive is Islamist-jihadist, it will benefit Donald Trump,” Oren told Israel’s Channel 10 news Sunday.
“This will greatly strengthen him.”
Oren also said that Trump has yet to take full advantage of the situation to gain the political upper hand.
“If I was Donald Trump, I would have come out the minute that the FBI started to indicate this morning that we are talking about a guy who was operating from Islamic motivations … just his name alone – ‘Sadiqqui’ – a Muslim name, the son of Afghan immigrants who apparently maintained connections of some sort to extremist Islamic organizations, that in itself will greatly influence the presidential race.”
In December, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Trump immediately clarified that under his proposal American Muslims can come and go as they please. Trump at the time expressed his hopes that a shutdown “will go quickly,” as soon as “our leaders figure out what the hell is going on.”
The former ambassador, meanwhile, described Hillary Clinton as “sitting on the fence” and “being very careful” in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He said that she is “condemning but hesitating as to what to condemn” and in all likelihood will use the shooting to stress the need for increased gun control.
Oren also said the attack would negatively impact the local economy, especially tourism.
“Orlando is a famous city, because Disney World is there. There will be tens of thousands of cancellations by Americans,” Oren said. “They will hear the word ‘Orlando’ and decide it is dangerous and will be put off.”
Trump posted a series of tweets after the attack including one that read: “Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?”
Later on he tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
Meanwhile, Clinton ignored radical Islam when she tweeted, “Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. -H.”