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Donald Trump unveiled his plan to fight terrorism on Monday, promising to institute “extreme vetting” of immigrants to protect the nation from radical Islamic terror.
He promised an international conference to strengthen the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria while arguing he would take major steps to clamp down immigration at home.
“The common thread linking the major Islamic terrorist attacks that have recently occurred on our soil…is that they have involved immigrants or the children of immigrants,” he said. “We should only admit into this country those that share our values and respect our people.”
“We will be tough, and we will be even extreme,” Trump added.
Casting the fight against radical Islamic terror as this generation's Cold War, he said it was long “overdue” to reestablish an “ideological screening test” like the one America used during that time.
“Just as we won the Cold War in part by exposing the evils of Communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of radical Islam,” he sad.
He also said he’d create a commission on radical Islam, keep Guantanamo Bay open, and stop trying terrorists in civilian courts.
The emphasis on defense comes after a tough week for Trump, who faced criticism for describing President Obama and Hillary Clinton as "founders" of ISIS and fell behind Clinton in national and battleground polls.
He chose a more nuanced tack on Monday, blaming the Democrats’ foreign policy for creating the vacuum that allowed ISIS to thrive.
"The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton,” he said.
“The decisions made by the Obama/Clinton group have been absolutely disastrous.”
In elaborating on his immigration platform, he gave teeth to the ever-changing policy that has served as a flashpoint of his campaign.
He had initially called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration before shifting to a ban on those from countries with a history of terrorism. While his campaign has been loath to offer specifics on which countries would qualify, Trump said Monday that his State Department and Department of Homeland Security would decide which regions would qualify based on whether “adequate screenings” could take place.
“My opponent wants to increase, which is unbelievable no matter who you are and where you come from, the flow of Syrian refugees by 550 percent,” Trump said.
“Hillary Clinton wants to be America’s Angela Merkel and you know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany,” he added before noting an increase in crime and the high-profile terror attacks that ravaged the country recently.
And he attempted to flip the script on Clinton’s favorite attack--that he’s unfit to serve as president--by turning the barb back onto his rival with a jab at her “physical stamina” amid a flurry of unfounded reports on conservative outlets that questioned her health.
“Incident after incident proves again and again, Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, as said by Bernie Sanders, stability, and temperament and the moral character to lead our nation,” Trump said.
“She also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS and all the many adversaries we face.”
He called on the country to come together behind him to fight ISIS, a call complicated by a recent open letter from 50 GOP high-profile foreign policy experts that called his candidacy a national security risk.
“Our victory in the Cold War relied on a bipartisan and international consensus. That is what we must have to defeat radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.
Appeared in the Hill by Ben Kamisar
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