BY: Amanda Terkel
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went after Donald Trump during the Democratic presidential debate Saturday night, saying he is hurting the U.S. fight against terrorism with his anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“He is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter,” she said. “They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.”
Trump recently called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. While his comments were extreme, some of his GOP presidential rivals have gone nearly as far.
“The first line of defense against radicalization is in the Muslim American community — people who we should be welcoming and working with,” Clinton said.
“I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations, that there is some kind of Western plot or war against Islam, which then, I believe, fans the flames of radicalization,” she added.
Clinton later invoked Trump again in her response on how to take on ISIS.
“If you’re going to put together a coalition in the region to take on the threat of ISIS, you don’t want to alienate the very countries and people you need to be part of the coalition,” she said.
Trump has said his plan to fight ISIS is to essentially bomb the bejesus out of them.
“I would just bomb those suckers,” Trump said in Iowa last month. “That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, every single inch, there would be nothing left.”
Trump’s call to ban Muslims hasn’t hurt his standing in the polls, but it’s not clear how much support it has from the American public since surveys have come up with mixed results.