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Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton react to Orlando mass shooting

Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR join Gwen Ifill to discuss the latest in politics, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s standoff over the Orlando shooting, what Orlando could mean for the presidential election, Clinton’s take on the struggle against radical Islamic terrorism and Donald Trump’s appeal to the LGBT community.

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  • Gwen Ifill

    : We turn now to politics.

    Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both scaled back scheduled campaign events today in the wake of the Orlando shooting.

    Both responded to the tragedy, in very different ways.

  • Hillary Clinton, Presumptive Presidential Nominee:

    (D) Today is not a day for politics.

    On Sunday, Americans woke up to a nightmare that’s become mind-numbingly familiar, another act of terrorism in a place no one expected. This is a moment when all Americans need to stand together. No matter how many times we endure attacks like this, the horror never fades. The murder of innocent people breaks our hearts, tears at our sense of security, and makes us furious.

  • Donald Trump, Presumptive Presidential Nominee:

    (R) The bottom line is that Hillary supports policies that bring the threat of radical Islam into America and allow it to grow overseas, and it is growing.

    In fact, Hillary Clinton’s catastrophic immigration plan will bring vastly more radical Islamic immigration into this country, threatening not only our society, but our entire way of life. We need a new leader. We need a new leader fast. They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else. I refuse to be politically correct.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Gwen Ifill:

    For more on the candidates’ response to the deadly shooting in Orlando, we turn to Politics Monday, with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR, who is joining us tonight from Cleveland.

    Amy, both candidates said this wasn’t a day for politics, and Hillary Clinton didn’t mention Donald Trump by name. But she still slid in her little digs.

  • Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report:

    Yes. And Donald Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton explicitly many times during the debate — during his press conference today.

    Look, I think the candidates that you saw today giving speeches in response to Orlando aren’t any different from the candidates that you see on the campaign trail. You had, in Donald Trump, the bold, the brash, the controversial. He doubled down on the Muslim ban. Talked about sort of an us vs. them look at the world.

    Hillary Clinton, much more measured, much more traditional, political and she talked about a we vs. me mentality.

    So, for anybody who is sort of on the fence about this campaign, who says I don’t really know the differences between these two candidates, how would they react to a crisis situation or a big event as president of the United States, you got a very clear idea of the differences between the two of them today.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Tam, but Donald Trump didn’t just double down on what he has said before about banning Muslims. He talked today about banning entire nationalities.

  • Tamara Keith, NPR:

    Right, he said — and this was an expansion — that he would put a temporary ban on immigration from countries that support terrorism or where terrorism against America has originated, which could include a whole lot of countries.

    We don’t have details on which those would be. He also in that speech said that Hillary Clinton wants to do away with the Second Amendment, take away people’s guns and allow terrorists into the country and then people wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. That, of course, is not Hillary Clinton’s policy. But there you have it.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Tam, it seems to me that at least the Democrats have their talking points in order. The president did this with us on our “NewsHour” town hall not long ago, talking about terror watch lists and how Congress should at least allow them to deny gun purchases to people on the watch lists.

    We heard Dianne Feinstein say it again just now to Judy. And we heard Hillary Clinton say it. So, is that the line, that the Democrats will always talk about guns and the Republicans will always talk about immigration?

  • Tamara Keith

    : That seems to be the way this keeps happening.

    And we should note that this is not the first time that these presidential candidates have had to respond to a terrorist incident. This one happens to be bigger and here at home. But the response has been essentially the same each time. Hillary Clinton this time is talking about wanting to possibly expand terror lists.

    But, essentially, it is the same conversation about guns and about terrorism. And it goes round and round and round again.

  • Amy Walter

    : Yes.

    And the sort of depressing piece about all of this is, they are talking about legislation that is unlikely to get anywhere within Congress, whether it’s more attempts to control guns, or, you know, to have more regulation around guns, or whether it is about banning Muslims or people who are coming in, as Tam pointed out, from countries that support terrorism. Those are things that aren’t going to make it through Congress.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : What is unique about Donald Trump is that he starts every response by saying, see, I was right.

  • Amy Walter

    : Yes, see, I was right.

    And he also said, I can do these things on banning certain people through my own orders. I won’t need Congress to be able to do that.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : So, Tam, do we — I know we say this a lot. But I’m curious whether moments like this, kind of somber, big moments, represent that a turning point, or at least a clarifying point in a campaign, especially as we get ready to turn to the general election.

  • Tamara Keith

    : This is absolutely one of those moments, just like Paris, just like San Bernardino. Those were moments in the campaign where we all paused and we thought that this could be a defining moment.

    What we don’t know — those previous incidents were defining moments. Donald Trump came out strong. He talked about a Muslim ban. He did better among Republican voters after those incidents. His poll numbers improved.

    What we don’t know this time around is whether it’s different. You know what? A Republican primary electorate is very different from a general election electorate. There are a lot more people who have very different views. And it is just not clear at this point.

    It is a moment. We don’t know quite what the moment means in terms of how this will play out over the next several weeks and months.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Let’s talk about terminology, because one of the things that Donald Trump is counting on is that in the past this has worked for him, this really tough response.

  • Amy Walter

    : Right.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : But now, today, he was talking a lot about she won’t use the words radical Islamism. And she said, well, I do too kind of.

    What is that really about?

  • Amy Walter

    : Right, it seems that what Hillary Clinton was trying to do, at least this morning — she didn’t do it in her speech today — but by taking the issue radical Islam, radical jihadism and sort of saying, I can do either or both of those, and say, I don’t want to get in a debate over semantics.

    I would rather get in a debate over what is happening in this country with individuals who are using faith to do terrible things. In the past, though, she has said we don’t want to call it radical Islam, because then we are maligning entire — an entire religion. We don’t want to focus on the religious part. We want to focus on the actions.

    I think, in essence, what they are trying to do — and I don’t know if this is correct. But, in essence, what they are trying to do is to say, you know, look, this issue is not something I want to get in a fight about anymore. I think it’s getting tougher and tougher for them to try and take parse these words and to defend not taking on Muslim religion, and instead start where Donald Trump does and say, we’re not going to go as far as he does in terms of banning all Muslims.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : And, Tam, I want to talk about another piece of terminology, which is the LGBT community, we heard Donald Trump say today, I’m a better — I will be a better friend because I will act and Hillary just has words.

    Is that actually true? Does it seem that way? It seems to me the big groups have endorsed Hillary Clinton already.

  • Tamara Keith

    : The big groups have endorsed Hillary Clinton already. And she is very popular among some large portion of the LGBT community.

    Donald Trump, though, interestingly, you know, has not wanted to fight in fight in that arena. There are other candidates who were running in the Republican primary who wanted to talk about gay marriage and wanted to talk about bathroom laws. And Donald Trump has, generally speaking, taken a more tolerant view.

    That seems to be an area that he doesn’t want to get into too much.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Not on gay marriage.

  • Tamara Keith

    : Not on gay marriage, for instance.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Right. OK, on gay marriage, he is, I think, in line with the Republican Party.

    OK, Tam Keith, we’re done here. Amy Walter, we’re done here.

  • Amy Walter

    : We’re done, for now.

  • Gwen Ifill

    : Thank you both.

  • Tamara Keith

    : You’re welcome.

  • Amy Walter

    : You’re welcome.

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