WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter King had a sober message on a Monday morning news show in the aftermath of a terrorist’s Orlando nightclub slaughter: “We have to stop the name-calling” and reassess how to conduct what will be “a long, hard-fought war” against terrorism.
It was a message that was picked up by the show’s next guest, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, who said she wanted to “echo” King, adding: “It’s a time for statesmanship, not partisanship.”
Neither mentioned Donald Trump.
But the presumptive Republican presidential candidate repeatedly calls Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and post-Orlando has stepped up attacks on President Barack Obama and his approach to terrorism — even hinting Obama is looking the other way.
On Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Monday, Trump said, “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other, and either one is unacceptable.”
King (R-Seaford), chairman of the House counterterrorism subcommittee, made his remarks on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, softening his Sunday email taking a poke at the “liberal New York Times” and ACLU for opposing increased surveillance in the Muslim community.
But on Tuesday, King contacted Newsday saying: "I stand by everything I said about the NY Times. Trump is oversimplifying in criticizing Obama policies but the Times has been disgraceful in smearing and undercutting NYPD surveillance policies, and puts live at risk."
King, who has endorsed Trump because he’s the GOP nominee, dismissed the promises of Trump and other former Republican presidential hopefuls who vowed they would deliver knockout blows to ISIS and other terrorists with bombs and military strikes.
“This is going to be a long, hard-fought war that’s going to be fought on many fronts, and it’s not going to be sexy, it’s not going to be dramatic,” King said.
“And I think the American people have to realize that, and our political leaders have to start telling us that, that we have to stop the name-calling,” he said. “I can be critical of the president in a number of areas. Today is not the day to do that.”
He added that “we have to re-look at our policies” but do it without attacks from either side in the debate over domestic surveillance of Muslim communities.
In the show’s next segment, Clinton, who had phoned in, said, “I want to echo something that I heard my friend and former colleague Peter King saying as I was listening here: This is a moment for Republicans, Democrats and independents to work together as one team, the American team. And it’s a time for statesmanship, not partisanship.”
She added, “I remember we all came together as one nation after 9/11. And we should recapture that spirit.”
Clinton agreed with King it is time to review anti-terror policies.
“Let’s have a very clear, rational discussion about what we do right and what we can improve on and how we’re going to protect Americans, both from the threats of terrorism and ISIS, how we’re going to defeat ISIS, and how we’re going to try to save people’s lives from the epidemic of gun violence,” she said.