PITTSBURGH — Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, criticized Republican rival Donald Trump Tuesday, describing his national security proposals in the wake of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting as “nonsensical” and devoid of details.
Clinton, in a speech before more than 700 supporters at a crowded downtown Pittsburgh union hall, responded to Trump, after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee attacked her positions on immigration and gun control during a speech in New Hampshire on Monday.
The former secretary of state, described Trump’s national security address, which came a day after 49 people were shot to death at an Orlando gay nightclub, as full of “bizarre rants” and “outright lies,” meant to “distract us from the fact that he has nothing substantive to say for himself.”
“We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations,” Clinton told the audience at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers meeting hall. “We need leadership and concrete plans because we are facing a brutal enemy.”
Clinton cast Trump’s national security agenda as simplistic, saying his speech on Monday only offered “two ideas” — his long-standing call to ban Muslims from entering the country and his focus on “radical Islamic terrorists”
“What I found, once you cut through the nonsense, is that his plan comes down to two things,” Clinton said. “First, he is fixated on the words ‘radical Islam.’ I must say, I find this strange. Is Donald Trump suggesting that there are magic words that, once uttered, will stop terrorists from coming after us? Trump, as usual, is obsessed with name-calling. From my perspective, it matters what we do, not just what we say.”
She condemned Trump’s call to block Muslim entry into the U.S., saying the country relies on “partners in Muslim countries to fight terrorists,” and Trump’s policies and rhetoric would make it “harder” to preserve those alliances.
Clinton said Trump’s policies also would derail efforts to work with Muslim communities in the U.S. which “are often the most likely to recognize radicalization before it’s too late.”
She noted that the shooter in Sunday’s rampage, Omar Mateen, 29, was born in Queens, “just like Donald was himself . . . so Muslim bans and immigration reform would not have stopped him.”
Clinton, who has called for a ban on assault style guns such as the one used by Mateen, rebutted Trump’s claim on Monday that she wanted to “disarm law-abiding Americans.”
“I believe we Americans are capable of both protecting our Second Amendment rights while making sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Clinton said. “The terrorist in Orlando was the definition of ‘the wrong hands.’ And weapons of war have no place in our streets.”
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Clinton told the crowd, before the shooting, she had planned to give a speech on her plans for the economy and creating jobs, “but today, there are different things on my mind . . . we are all still reeling from what happened on Sunday in Orlando.”
The appearance comes as polls show Clinton and Trump virtually tied in the battleground state. They each had 44 percent support in a head-to-head match up, according to a poll released by Public Policy Polling on June 8.