NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the United States is going to have to start profiling to stop terror attacks following the recent bombings in New York City and New Jersey.
“I’m not using the term Muslims. I’m saying you’re going to have to profile. We’re gonna have to start profiling, and it’s, you know, I don’t know if it’s that bad, but certainly it’s not a wonderful thing,” Trump told Fox News on Monday night. “But we have a country to keep safe and we’re not going to keep our country safe, you see this happening, and you know and I know it’s going to get worse.”
Earlier Monday, he called for tougher policing, including profiling foreigners who look like they could have connections to terrorism or certain Mideastern nations.
“This isn’t just a matter of terrorism, this is also really a question of quality of life,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re only admitting people into our country who love our country.”
Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was captured and injured in a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey. Authorities say the naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan is behind the bombings in Chelsea, which injured 29, Seaside Park and Elizabeth.
U.S. officials told CBS News that Rahami traveled to Afghanistan three times recently, and three times total. The most recent trip is believed to have taken in 2014.
Law enforcement sources told CBS News Rahami also traveled to Pakistan during one of his trips to Afghanistan.
This is not the first time Trump has called for profiling. Following the Orlando nightclub massacre that left 49 dead, the Republican nominee told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the U.S. must “start thinking about” profiling.
“Well, I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said in June. “Other countries do it, you look at Israel and you look at others, they do it and they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads.”
Trump has also called on a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
At a packed rally in Florida, Trump supporters shouted “Hang him!” as he mocked the fact Rahami would receive quality medical care and legal representation.
“We must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people,” he said. “These are enemies, these are combatants and we have to be tough, we have to be strong.”
Trump and Hillary Clinton moved swiftly to capitalize on investigations into a weekend of violent attacks — bombings in New York and New Jersey and stabbings at a Minnesota mall — casting themselves as most qualified to combat terrorism at home and abroad.
Clinton touted her national security credentials at a hastily arranged news conference outside her campaign plane, accusing Trump of using the incidents to make “some kind of demagogic point.”
“I’m the only candidate in this race who’s been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield,” Clinton, a former secretary of state, told reporters. “I know how to do this.”
The possibility of a home-grown terrorist plot cast a new shadow over the presidential race, diverting both candidates’ attention from the daily controversies of the campaign and giving them a high-profile opportunity to make their case to undecided voters.
Clinton and her team see her experience and what they say is her steady judgment as key selling points for her candidacy. On the campaign trail, she frequently invokes her role in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, describing to voters the tense atmosphere in the White House alongside President Barack Obama at that moment.
But while much of the foreign policy establishment has rallied around Clinton, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, promises to close U.S. borders and vows to aggressively profile potential terrorists have fueled his presidential bid.
Pointing to her Monday morning comment that Trump’s words give “aid and comfort” to Islamic extremists, his campaign said Clinton was accusing him of treason, going beyond the bounds of acceptable campaigning and trying to change the subject from her own failures.
She insinuated that Islamic militants, particularly those affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are rooting for Trump to win the White House. She said, “We’re going after the bad guys and we’re going to get them, but we’re not going to go after an entire religion.”
Trump agreed terrorists have a preference: They “want her so badly to be our president.”
New York officials said Monday the bombings in a Manhattan neighborhood and a New Jersey shore town were looking increasingly like acts of terrorism with a foreign connection. Authorities were also investigating the stabbings of nine people at a Minnesota mall as a possible act of terrorism.
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