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Long IslandPolitics

Your politics briefing: Is Orlando terror a game-changer?

An injured victim is carried out of the

An injured victim is carried out of the Pulse nightclub after a shooting rampage on Sunday morning June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Credit: AP / Steven Fernandez

Trump: I was right

By Donald Trump’s telling, terrorism is why he broke out of the pack during the Republican primaries.

“I was one of 17 people,” he said in mid-March after winning three of the contests. But then “something happened called Paris.” And then the attack in San Bernardino, California. “And what happened with me is this whole run took on a whole new meaning. Not just borders, not just good trade deals ...

All of a sudden, the poll numbers shot up.”

The horror in Orlando gives Trump, on the defensive of late, the chance to pivot to a subject on which he believes he commands an advantage. He doubled down on his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism. I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance,” Trump said to followers during a Twitter storm that gained ferocity during the day. It culminated in a statement demanding that President Barack Obama resign and Hillary Clinton quit the race for “not saying the words ‘radical Islam.’ ”

But Clinton seemed to deflate Trump's semantic argument Monday when she appeared on CNN. "Whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I'm happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing... From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say."

Calling in to Fox News, Trump issued suggestive but murky alarms. "There's no uniforms involved but it's war. It's absolute war," he said, adding darkly that Obama is "not tough, not smart -- or has something else in mind." He added: "We have to be very strong in terms of looking at the mosques."

Of "thousands" who are "sick with hate," Trump said: "Muslims know who they are, largely. They have to turn them in. They know who they are. They see them."

Recent polls are inconclusive for predicting whether the wider electorate will respond as GOP primary voters did.

Trump had the edge by 50% to 46% in a May 18-22 Gallup survey question on terrorism and national security. But an April 28-May 1 CNN poll found Clinton was more trusted on handling terrorism, 50% to 45%.

Clinton did not rebut her opponent Sunday, leaving that to a campaign spokeswoman, who said Trump “put out political attacks, weak platitudes and self-congratulations,” but “no real plans.”

The Democrat’s statement and tweets on Orlando said responding to this “act of terror” required both “a need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad,” and “staying true to our values.”

Clinton also described the evil unleashed in Orlando as an “act of hate” directed at the LGBT community and a new reminder that “we need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals.” She did not mention any religious affiliations.

More to say Monday

A Trump speech at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, Monday — originally planned to be a compendium of what he calls Clinton scandals —will instead cover the Orlando attack, immigration and national security, his campaign said. Trump canceled a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but was going ahead with a fundraiser in Boston.

Clinton is going ahead with a scheduled speech in Cleveland Monday and “will be talking to the American people in the coming days about steps she would take to keep the country safe,” her campaign said.

However, Clinton’s first joint campaign appearance with President Barack Obama — which was to have happened Wednesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin — has been postponed because of the attack.

Clinton-Sanders summit set

Bernie Sanders said he will meet with Hillary Clinton Tuesday night and wants to hear about her commitment to issues he championed — including battling Wall Street and income inequality — before deciding on an endorsement.

Sanders said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he will determine “how closely we can work with her” based on “what kind of platform she is going to support and in fact how aggressive she is going to be in addressing the major crises that we face.”

Dems like Bernie as veep

More than three-quarters of Democrats say Sanders should have a “major role” in shaping the party’s positions, while nearly two-thirds say Clinton should pick him as her running mate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Sanders called that “very unlikely” but said, “I want to see if Hillary Clinton appoints a vice president who is a progressive.” He spoke favorably of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

The take-away: Ball in their courts

The battle between Clinton and Trump to lead the executive branch keeps wending through the judicial branch, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Courts are the channels of disclosures for matters including Clinton’s stewardship of the State Department emails and fraud allegations against Trump University, and a big question for voters is who will get to name nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ryan puts Trump on notice

House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking on “This Week” about his criticism of Trump for “racist” comments, said, “It isn’t the first time I’ve had to do it, and it won’t be the last time if this continues.”

He didn’t rule out rescinding his endorsement. “I’m not going to speak about what’s happening in the future. But I believe and hope that he’s going to change and improve his campaign. We’ll see.” (Video here.)

What else is happening:

  • Vice President Joe Biden canceled plans to attend a Miami fundraiser for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, because of the Orlando shootings ...
  • President Barack Obama's diagnosis on the changing nature of terrorist attacks after San Bernadino proves tragically accurate in the Orlando massacre...
  • Trump's DJT company was a big loser for small investors but paid for those who piloted his jets and gave the billionaire fat bonuses, a Washinton Post review of its history reveals.
  • And he was failing in Atlantic City before Atlatnic City itself was failing, the Times reports.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz hasn’t endorsed Trump, but sounded like him in a statement on Orlando calling for a president “Who will identify the enemy by name and do everything necessary to defeat it” ...
  • No new Trump claims of 'celebrating' in New Jersey, but there were audible expressions of shock and sadness...
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) sees Trump helping Clinton draw a big African-American turnout...
  • Clinton’s first general-election campaign ad uses footage of Trump mocking a reporter’s disability and encouraging violence by supporters against protesters at his campaign rallies, Politico reports ...
  • GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona urged Republicans on Sunday not to endorse Donald Trump in the wake of his comments about a federal judge ...
  • Striking back at Mitt Romney’s latest denunciations of Trump, the candidate’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said on ABC’s “This Week,” “Well, if he feels that way, he should have run. He was a coward” ...
  • Romney accused Trump of causing "trickle-down racism" in the U.S. and choked back tears Saturday as he spoke of the presumptive GOP nominee...

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