Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke from President Barack Obama on Monday, referring to the terrorist attack in Orlando as “radical Islamism,” perhaps in an effort to counter Republican nominee Donald Trump’s accusations and both she and Obama are weak on addressing terrorism.
Monday morning on NBC’s Today, Clinton said that words matter less than actions, but that she didn’t take issue with the term.
“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said. “But if he is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”
“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” Clinton said later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reiterating, “it’s the same.”
She added on to her statements noting that the United States cannot “demonize, demagogue, and declare war on an entire religion.”
She also assured Americans that she is as committed to fighting Islamic extremism as she is to protecting law-abiding Muslims.
“We may be in the middle of a heated election right now, but we can’t let that distract us,” Clinton remarked. “Division will actually weaken us and make it harder to defeat this threat which is exactly what the terrorists want. So I am determined to do both. I have a track record of doing both, and that is what the country, I think, has every reason to demand and expect.”
On Sunday, Donald Trump asked for Obama’s resignation because of his omission of the term. The President referred to the Orlando shooting as “an act of terror and an act of hate”.
In a 2010 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the US government refrains from using “jihadists” or “Islamists” to describe terrorists.
“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women, and children,” Brennan said.