- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2016

The arrest of an immigrant from Afghanistan in this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey cleaved new rifts in the presidential campaign Monday, with Republican nominee Donald Trump insisting he foresaw the attacks, which he said bolster his call to suspend immigration from world trouble spots.

Mr. Trump said President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have botched the fight against terrorism and let themselves become ensnared by political correctness with their refusal to acknowledge the Islamist roots of the threat.

He said leaders have a duty to keep out people who don’t share American values and called again for “extreme screening.”

“And I will tell you: If you choose Donald Trump, these problems are going to go away far, far greater than anybody would think,” he said at a campaign rally in Florida.

Mrs. Clinton countered that Mr. Trump was spewing hate and encouraged Americans to send a message rejecting him.

“America is better than Donald Trump,” she said on her campaign Twitter account as police announced the arrest of Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan who was reportedly brought to the U.S. by his family seeking asylum.

Mr. Rahami was caught after a brief gunbattle with police in New Jersey, and authorities released footage of him that they signaled was taken from video surveillance of one bombing location.

Meanwhile the Islamic State terrorist group, also known by the acronym ISIS, claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack at a Minnesota shopping mall Saturday that injured nearly a dozen people.

Congressional Republicans said the spate of attacks demanded a tougher strategy from the Obama administration.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, renewed his party’s push for gun control legislation, saying terrorists’ ability to get firearms made their attacks more deadly.

The bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey, one week before both major candidates will be on stage in New York for the first presidential debate, are likely to color the remaining weeks of the campaign, just as the 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Libya tinged that year’s election.

Mr. Trump’s assertive pitch contrasts with that of Mrs. Clinton, who has tried to portray a steady hand. She said her billionaire opponent is unfit for the White House and is feeding terrorism.

“We know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam.

“You don’t hear a plan from him,” she said. “He keeps saying he has a secret plan. The secret is, he has no plan.”

She said her own experience as chief diplomat makes her the clear choice to take the helm from Mr. Obama.

Mr. Trump retorted that the policies Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton oversaw paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State.

“Let me just tell you, she is not the right person to solve a problem that largely her and Obama gave us,” Mr. Trump said. “It disqualifies her from being a credible presidential candidate, in my opinion.”

In the early hours after the New York and New Jersey bombings, Mrs. Clinton urged against jumping to conclusions. On Sunday afternoon, she issued a statement condemning the “apparent terrorist attacks.”

Mr. Trump, who quickly spoke out against bombing attacks, would later say Mrs. Clinton’s reticence was evidence that she is not prepared to lead the fight against terrorists.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said one reason Mr. Trump is picking up momentum is because people know the U.S. needs to be strong for the world and for the American people to be safe.

“The fact that Hillary Clinton today said my running mate’s rhetoric is quote, being seized on by terrorists and in particular ISIS as they’re looking to make it into a war against Islam once again, this is ‘ready, fire, aim’ by the Democrats,” Mr. Pence told radio host Rush Limbaugh. “We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism, we are at war with the ISIS caliphate, and what we need is a commander in chief who knows that.”

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