In a speech he gave today in New Hampshire, Donald Trump issued barbs directed at President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for their respective reactions to the Orlando massacre. On June 12, a Muslim American man shot to death 49 people and wounded 53 more at a gay nightclub. In his speech, Trump said "I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, Jewish people are targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence. This is not just a national security issue. It's a quality of life issue," Trump said.
 
Of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons assaulted by Omar Mateen – the 29-year-old ISIS-affiliated terrorist – Trump said, "It's an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity."
 
"The only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here."
 
Florida has been called one of the most crucial states for any presidential candidate to win. It was, for example, where George W. Bush nearly lost the 2000 presidential election. The Supreme Court had to rule that vote counting in Florida should end, despite qualms voiced by Democrats and critics that numerous ballots had been miscast and thus skewed the election in Bush’s favor.
 
Florida has been dubbed in the past the swingiest of swing states, with its 29 electoral votes needed as a prize for nominees. Prof. Susan McManus of the University of Southern Florida said in 2015 in an interview with WJRT news that “Florida is still considered by everybody as the most important, biggest, swing state in the country.” As for the stake, MacManus said that Florida is all the more important for Republicans than Democrats because “Republicans cannot win without it.”
 
Florida has four significant television markets, and it has widely divergent regions that reflect very different cultures and voting patterns. The southern end of the peninsula is liberal, while the north is conservative. In addition, there is a corridor along the I-4 that can swing either way.  Winning Florida is thus essential for Trump. Having drawn a connection between his positions on national security/immigration on one hand, and gay rights on the other, Trump may have scored an electoral coup.
 
Trump said that defeating the "anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-American" Islamic State (ISIS) will be his top priority as president. In his 30-minute speech, Trump described the Orlando massacre, saying "It is an attack on the right of every single American to live in peace and safety." After calling for a moment of silence for the 49 people Mateen murdered, Trump repeated his call for a temporary ban on Muslims “until we figure out what the hell is going on." Trump has frequently decried Obama’s apparent refusal to name Islamism as the motivation for terrorist attacks in the U.S.
 
According to Red Alert Politics, some gays are changing their allegiance to Donald Trump in the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando. On a Reddit, a pro-Trump message board, a user whose handle is “4yyy” wrote, "I'm American, I'm gay. I used to think Trump was full of s--t. Today everything changed. My friend was one of the victims in Orlando, I've never been more ready for Trump to take office." 4yyy continued, writing, "I'm shaken. I'm a mess. I'm broken, but I've never been more determined for a leader to actually take charge and make a change. How do I get started? How do I help this man lead us into a safer country."
 
“Snowduckling” on Reddit wrote that he has changed his mind about Trump: "I am a gay man and this disgusting incident has persuaded me to join the Trump train! It's about time that I jumped ship." Snowduckling wrote that his personal safety is more important that any perceived bias directed at homosexuals. "I'd rather be denied service from a bakery than be riddled with bullets during a hate crime performed by a crazy radical Islamic terrorist," he wrote.
 
On PJMedia.com, a self-declared gay activist wrote, "The events in Orlando have shattered my political beliefs."  Admitting that he had voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary, he wrote, "I now cringe inwardly with shame and embarrassment at having done so." It is Trump, wrote the activist, who is the only presidential candidate who speaks about stopping Islamic terrorism. "Suddenly that is the only issue that really matters when it comes to the health, well-being and safety of the queer community," the activist wrote. He added, that he believes Clinton and President Obama have decided that "appeasing Muslims" is more important than defending homosexual Americans. "I don't want to vote for Trump, but I must. And if you care about the safety of the gay community in America, so must you," the activist wrote.
 
Trump denounced Obama’s policies and claimed that their continuation would ruin America if Clinton wins the White House. He said, "thousands and thousands of people, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer" are pouring into the U.S. A ban, he said, would be lifted "when and as a nation we are in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country." As for his presumptive opponent in the coming general election, Trump said, "Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country and who suppress women, gays and anyone who doesn't share our values."
 
Trump said Clinton has "no clue, in my opinion, what radical Islam is, and she won’t speak honestly about it if she does, in fact, know." Trump said she has supported lax immigration policies that have allowed terrorists to enter the country because she allowed political correctness stop her from speaking the truth about "Islamic extremists."
 
"She wants to take away Americans' guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us," Trump said.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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