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Clinton, Trump Differences on ISIS Back on Display

Trump's plan for ISIS is a radical shift from current U.S. policy while Clinton’s is a tinkering and escalation of current policy.
Image: Presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
A combination photo of Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC. on Spet. 17, 2016 and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in New York on Sept.15, 2016.Mandel Ngan/Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Multiple explosions in three states over the weekend have put terrorism – especially concerns of domestic attacks – back into the forefront of a presidential race heading into the final weeks of a tumultuous campaign.

And the two candidates are showing vast differences in how they'd approach the subject.

In a brief news conference on the tarmac in White Plains, N.Y. Monday morning, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton staked claim to experience, saying her tenure as secretary of state makes her the sole candidate in the race who "has been part of the hard decisions” to fight terrorism.

And she blasted her rival, Donald Trump, Monday morning, saying ISIS is “seizing on” Trump’s rhetoric as a recruitment tool and criticized his “secret plan” to defeat the terror group.

The Trump campaign shot back.

“Mr. Trump will bring an end to these attacks, because unlike Obama and Clinton, he believes we’re in more than a fight about ‘narratives’ – these terrorists pose an existential threat to our country and our values and they must be destroyed before they can harm any more of our citizens," said Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller.

Related: Hillary Clinton: Trump's Rhetoric 'Seized On' by ISIS

Before these latest bombings, the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in early August found that the two were essentially tied on the issue of which candidate would be better on the issues of terrorism and homeland security. Forty three percent of the poll respondents said Trump would be better while 43 percent chose Clinton.

While the country appears split, Clinton's and Trump’s approaches are far apart.

Clinton’s plans amounts to a continuation, with some tinkering and escalation, of what President Barack Obama is already doing, although she says “more” needs to be done.

Meanwhile, Trump doesn't have any specific plans on his website, but his tweets and an interview on Fox News Monday morning show that his ideas are a radical shift from how the U.S. government currently addresses terrorism both domestically and overseas.


Law Enforcement:

Trump: Trump promoted the idea of racial profiling to catch suspected offenders. On Fox News Trump praised the police, calling them “amazing,” but said they are “afraid to do anything” about terrorists “because they don’t want to be accused of profiling.”

“You know in Israel, they profile. They’ve done an unbelievable job,” he added. “Do we really have a choice? They’re trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse.”

Clinton: Clinton, meanwhile, said the exact opposite, that law enforcement must work with the Muslim community. She also said that “it is crucial” that law enforcement and Muslim-Americans must work on building a trusting relationship.

She also said in a press conference Monday morning that state and local law enforcement must have “resources, the training and intelligence they need to effectively prevent and respond” to attacks.

The Role of the Press:

Trump: Trump also said that the press should not print information that could give terrorists ideas. He said magazines should not be sold that show how terrorists are building their bombs. On the Fox News interview, he said people who print such articles are criminals.

"We should arrest the people that do that because they're participating in a crime," he said. "We should arrest them."

"Now people will go crazy. They'll say, 'Oh, Trump is against freedom of the press.' I'm not against. I'm totally in favor of freedom of the press, but how do you allow magazines to be sold?" Trump added.

Clinton: Clinton has not said anything about the role of the media.


Trump: During the Fox News interview, Trump said “you have to stop them from coming into this country.” He is presumably talking about his so-called Muslim ban.

His language around the ban has shifted, but in a speech last month, he called for "an ideological screening test" for new entrants and a "temporary" suspension of immigration from "the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism."

Clinton: Clinton said Monday she has “long been an advocate for tough vetting” of people who come into the country.

Clinton added that the U.S. needs “a better visa system,” noting that the 9/11 hijackers were in the U.S. on legal visas. In a previous speech she said the government should know “every fighter” who could be coming to the U.S. and “start revoking passports and visas.”

Trump agrees, but offers no specific solutions, only calling for a “visa tracking system” and saying “we need to stop giving legal immigrant visas to people bent on causing us harm.”

Intelligence and Tech:

Trump: In a speech on terrorism in August, Trump called for "expanded intelligence sharing" with coalition partners. He also said the U.S. "cannot allow the internet to be used as a recruiting tools," adding that the U.S. "must shut their access" to the internet.

Clinton: The other main points in Clinton’s plan include an "intelligence surge" to disrupt plans before they happen as well as close coordination with Silicon Valley, saying "the government cannot do this without the tech communities."

"The recruitment and radicalization that goes on online has to be much more vigorously intercepted and prevented," Clinton said, which is how, she says, tech companies can assist the federal government.


Trump: Trump said he would “change the playbook” about how to fight ISIS overseas. When pressed by the Fox News host, the Republican candidate only said he would “knock the hell out of them.”

“We’re hitting them every once in a while, we’re hitting them in certain places, we’re being very gentle about it,” he said. “We’re going to have to be very tough.”

Trump also said he would be a leader and pull countries impacted by terrorism together, saying they “have to fight.”

Clinton: Clinton called for an "accelerated" air campaign against ISIS “strongholds” by the United States and its "coalition," more support of Kurdish and Arab forces on the ground and aggressive diplomacy in Iraq and Syria.

A combination photo of Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC. on Spet. 17, 2016 and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in New York on Sept.15, 2016.Mandel Ngan/Mark Wilson / Getty Images