Donald Trump's remarks on terrorism, delivered in Youngstown, Ohio, on August 15, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you. It is great to be with you this afternoon.
Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again.
In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.
Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism.
This summer, there has been an ISIS attack launched outside the war zones of the Middle East every 84 hours.
Here, in America, we have seen one brutal attack after another.
13 were murdered, and 38 wounded, in the assault on Ft. Hood.
The Boston Marathon Bombing wounded and maimed 264 people, and ultimately left five dead – including 2 police officers.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, five unarmed marines were shot and killed at a military recruiting center.
Last December, 14 innocent Americans were gunned down at an office party in San Bernardino, another 22 were injured.
In June, 49 Americans were executed at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and another 53 were injured. It was the worst mass shooting in our history, and the worst attack on the LGTBQ community in our history.
In Europe, we have seen the same carnage and bloodshed inflicted upon our closest allies.
In January of 2015, a French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Twelve were killed, including two police officers, and 11 were wounded. Two days later, four were murdered in a Jewish Deli.
In November of 2015, terrorists went on a shooting rampage in Paris that slaughtered 130 people, and wounded another 368. France is suffering gravely, and the tourism industry is being massively affected in a most negative way.
In March of this year, terrorists detonated a bomb in the Brussels airport, killing 32 and injuring 340.
This July, in the South of France, an Islamic terrorist turned his truck into an instrument of mass murder, plowing down and killing 85 men, women and children – and wounding another 308. Among the dead were 2 Americans – a Texas father, and his 11-year-old son.
A few weeks ago, in Germany, a refugee armed with an axe wounded five people in a gruesome train attack.
Only days ago, an ISIS killer invaded a Christian church in Normandy France, forced an 85-year-old priest to his knees, and slit his throat before his congregation.
Overseas, ISIS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another. Children slaughtered, girls sold into slavery, men and women burned alive. Crucifixions, beheadings and drownings. Ethnic minorities targeted for mass execution. Holy sites desecrated. Christians driven from their homes and hunted for extermination. ISIS rounding-up what it calls the “nation of the cross” in a campaign of genocide. We cannot let this evil continue.
Nor can we let the hateful ideology of Radical Islam – its oppression of women, gays, children, and nonbelievers – be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries.
We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.
But we will not defeat it with closed eyes, or silenced voices.
Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.Anyone who cannot condemn the hatred, oppression and violence of Radical Islam lacks the moral clarity to serve as our President.
The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary Clinton
Let’s look back at the Middle East at the very beginning of 2009, before the Obama-Clinton Administration took over.
Libya was stable.
Syria was under control.
Egypt was ruled by a secular President and an ally of the United States.
Iraq was experiencing a reduction in violence.
The group that would become what we now call ISIS was close to being extinguished.
Iran was being choked off by economic sanctions.
Fast-forward to today. What have the decisions of Obama-Clinton produced?
Libya is in ruins, our ambassador and three other brave Americans are dead, and ISIS has gained a new base of operations.
Syria is in the midst of a disastrous civil war. ISIS controls large portions of territory. A refugee crisis now threatens Europe and the United States.
In Egypt, terrorists have gained a foothold in the Sinai desert, near the Suez Canal, one of the most essential waterways in the world.
Iraq is in chaos, and ISIS is on the loose.
ISIS has spread across the Middle East, and into the West. In 2014, ISIS was operating in some 7 nations. Today they are fully operational in 18 countries with aspiring branches in 6 more, for a total of 24 – and many believe it is even more than that. The situation is likely worse than the public knows: a new Congressional report reveals that the Administration has downplayed the growth of ISIS, with 40% of analysts saying they had experienced efforts to manipulate their findings.
At the same time, ISIS is trying to infiltrate refugee flows into Europe and the United States.
Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, is now flush with $150 billion in cash released by the United States – plus another $400 million in ransom. Worst of all, the Nuclear deal puts Iran, the number one state sponsor of Radical Islamic Terrorism, on a path to nuclear weapons.
In short, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has unleashed ISIS, destabilized the Middle East, and put the nation of Iran – which chants ‘Death to America’ – in a dominant position of regional power and, in fact, aspiring to be a dominant world power.
It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’
In a series of speeches, President Obama described America as “arrogant,” “dismissive” “derisive” and a “colonial power.” He informed other countries that he would be speaking up about America’s “past errors.” He pledged that we would no longer be a “senior partner,” that “sought to dictate our terms.” He lectured CIA officers of the need to acknowledge their mistakes, and described Guantanamo Bay as a “rallying cry for our enemies.”
Perhaps no speech was more misguided than President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World delivered in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009.
In winning the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan repeatedly touted the superiority of freedom over communism, and called the USSR the Evil Empire.
Yet, when President Obama delivered his address in Cairo, no such moral courage could be found. Instead of condemning the oppression of women and gays in many Muslim nations, and the systematic violations of human rights, or the financing of global terrorism, President Obama tried to draw an equivalency between our human rights record and theirs.
His naïve words were followed by even more naïve actions.
The failure to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, and the election-driven timetable for withdrawal, surrendered our gains in that country and led directly to the rise of ISIS.
The failures in Iraq were compounded by Hillary Clinton’s disaster in Libya. President Obama has since said he regards Libya as his worst mistake. According to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the invasion of Libya was nearly a split decision, but Hillary Clinton’s forceful advocacy for the intervention was the deciding factor.
With one episode of bad judgment after another, Hillary Clinton’s policies launched ISIS onto the world.
Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.
Incident after incident proves again and again: Hillary Clinton lacks the judgement, the temperament and the moral character to lead this nation. Importantly, she also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all the many adversaries we face – not only in terrorism, but in trade and every other challenge we must confront to turn this country around.
It is time for a new approach
Our current strategy of nation-building and regime change is a proven failure. We have created the vacuums that allow terrorists to grow and thrive.
I was an opponent of the Iraq war from the beginning – a major difference between me and my opponent.
Though I was a private citizen, whose personal opinions on such matters was not sought, I nonetheless publicly expressed my private doubts about the invasion. Three months before the invasion I said, in an interview with Neil Cavuto, to whom I offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery, that “perhaps [we] shouldn't be doing it yet,” and that “the economy is a much bigger problem.”
In August of 2004, very early in the conflict, I made a detailed statement to Esquire magazine. Here is the quote in full:
"Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the country? C'mon. Two minutes after we leave, there's going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he'll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn't have.
"What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed. And what about the people coming back with no arms and legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who've been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All this for nothing."
So I have been clear for a long time that we should not have gone in. But I have been just as clear in saying what a catastrophic mistake Hillary Clinton and President Obama made with the reckless way in which they pulled out.
After we had made those hard-fought sacrifices and gains, we should never have made such a sudden withdrawal – on a timetable advertised to our enemies. Al Qaeda in Iraq had been decimated, and Obama and Clinton gave it new life and allowed it to spread across the world.
By that same token, President Obama and Hillary Clinton should never have attempted to build a Democracy in Libya, to push for immediate regime change in Syria or to support the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt.
One more point on this: I have long said that we should have kept the oil in Iraq – another area where my judgement has been proven correct. According to CNN, ISIS made as much $500 million in oil sales in 2014 alone, fueling and funding its reign of terror. If we had controlled the oil, we could have prevented the rise of ISIS in Iraq – both by cutting off a major source of funding, and through the presence of U.S. forces necessary to safeguard the oil and other vital infrastructure. I was saying this constantly and to whoever would listen: keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil, I said – don’t let someone else get it.
If they had listened to me then, we would have had the economic benefits of the oil, which I wanted to use to help take care of the wounded soldiers and families of those who died – and thousands of lives would have been saved.
This proposal, by its very nature, would have left soldiers in place to guard our assets. In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils. Instead, all we got from Iraq – and our adventures in the Middle East – was death, destruction and tremendous financial loss.
But it is time to put the mistakes of the past behind us, and chart a new course.
If I become President, the era of nation-building will be ended. Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of Radical Islam.
All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally. We cannot always choose our friends, but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.
As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.
We will also work closely with NATO on this new mission. I had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.
I also believe that we could find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. They too have much at stake in the outcome in Syria, and have had their own battles with Islamic terrorism.
My Administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expanded intelligence sharing, and cyber-warfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. We cannot allow the internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy – we must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has risked so many lives with her careless handling of sensitive information, my Administration will not telegraph exact military plans to the enemy. I have often said that General MacArthur and General Patton would be in a state of shock if they were alive today to see the way President Obama and Hillary Clinton try to recklessly announce their every move before it happens – like they did in Iraq – so that the enemy can prepare and adapt.
The fight will not be limited to ISIS. We will decimate Al Qaeda, and we will seek to starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah. We can use existing UN Security Council resolutions to apply new sanctions.
Military, cyber and financial warfare will all be essential in dismantling Islamic terrorism.
But we must use ideological warfare as well
Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.
While my opponent accepted millions of dollars in Foundation donations from countries where being gay is an offense punishable by prison or death, my Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith.
Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.
This includes speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings, where women are murdered by their relatives for dressing, marrying or acting in a way that violates fundamentalist teachings.
Over 1,000 Pakistani girls are estimated to be the victims of honor killings by their relatives each year. Recently, a prominent Pakistani social media star was strangled to death by her brother on the charge of dishonoring the family. In his confession, the brother took pride in the murder and said: “Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions.”
Shockingly, this is a practice that has reached our own shores.
One such case involves an Iraqi immigrant who was sentenced to 34 years in jail for running over his own daughter claiming she had become “too Westernized.”
To defeat Islamic terrorism, we must also speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow.
A new immigration policy is needed as well
The common thread linking the major Islamic terrorist attacks that have recently occurred on our soil – 9/11, the Ft. Hood shooting, the Boston Bombing, the San Bernardino attack, the Orlando attack – is that they have involved immigrants or the children of immigrants.
Clearly, new screening procedures are needed
A review by the U.S. Senate Immigration Subcommittee has identified 380 foreign-born individuals charged with terrorism or terrorismrelated offenses between 9/11 and 2014, and many more since then.
We also know that ISIS recruits refugees after their entrance into the country – as we have seen with the Somali refugee population in Minnesota.
Beyond terrorism, as we have seen in France, foreign populations have brought their anti-Semitic attitudes with them.
Pew polling shows that in many of the countries from which we draw large numbers of immigrants, extreme views about religion – such as the death penalty for those who leave the faith – are commonplace.
A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people.
In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.
In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.
Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.
Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.
To put these new procedures in place, we will have to temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.
As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.
The size of current immigration flows are simply too large to perform adequate screening.
We admit about 100,000 permanent immigrants from the Middle East every year. Beyond that, we admit hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and visitors from the same regions. If we don’t control the numbers, we can’t perform adequate screening.
By contrast, my opponent wants to increase the flow of Syrian refugees by 550% percent.
The United States Senate Subcommittee on Immigration estimates that Hillary Clinton’s plan would mean roughly 620,000 refugees from all current refugee-sending nations in her first term, assuming no cuts to other refugee programs. This would be additional to all other nonrefugee immigration.
The Subcommittee estimates her plan would impose a lifetime cost of roughly $400 billion when you include the costs of healthcare, welfare, housing, schooling, and all other entitlement benefits that are excluded from the State Department’s placement figures.
In short, Hillary Clinton wants to be America’s Angela Merkel, and you know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany and the people of Germany – crime has risen to levels that no one thought would they would ever see. We have enough problems in our country, we don’t need another one.
Finally, we will need to restore common sense to our security procedures
Another common feature of the past attacks that have occurred on our soil is that warning signs were ignored.
The 9/11 hijackers had fraud all over their visa applications.
The Russians warned us about the Boston Bombers, here on political asylum, and the attackers were even twice interviewed by the FBI.
The female San Bernardino shooter, here on a fiancé visa from Saudi Arabia, wrote of her support for Jihad online. A neighbor saw suspicious behavior but didn’t warn authorities, because said they didn’t want to be accused of racially profiling – now many are dead and gravely wounded.
The shooter in Orlando reportedly celebrated in his classroom after 9/11. . He too was interviewed by the FBI. His father, a native of Afghanistan, supported the oppressive Taliban regime, and expressed anti-American views – and by the way, was just seen sitting behind Hillary Clinton with a big smile on his face all the way through her speech. He obviously liked what she had to say.
The Ft. Hood Shooter delivered a presentation to a room full of mental health experts before the attacks in which he threw out one red flag after another. He even proclaimed that “we love death more than you love life!”
These warnings signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society.
That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam – which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us. We want to build bridges and erase divisions.
The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.
This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.
We will also keep open Guantanamo Bay, and place a renewed emphasis on human intelligence. Drone strikes will remain part of our strategy, but we will also seek to capture high-value targets to gain needed information to dismantle their organizations. Foreign combatants will be tried in military commissions.
Finally, we will pursue aggressive criminal or immigration charges against anyone who lends material support to terrorism. Similar to the effort to take down the mafia, this will be the understood mission of every federal investigator and prosecutor in the country.
To accomplish a goal, you must state a mission: the support networks for Radical Islam in this country will be stripped out and removed one by one.
Immigration officers will also have their powers restored: those who are guests in our country that are preaching hate will be asked to return home.
To Make America Safe Again, We Must Work Together Again
Our victory in the Cold War relied on a bipartisan and international consensus. That is what we must have to defeat Radical Islamic terrorism.
But just like we couldn’t defeat communism without acknowledging that communism exists – or explaining its evils – we can’t defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism unless we do the same.
This also means we have to promote the exceptional virtues of our own way of life – and expecting that newcomers to our society do the same.
Pride in our institutions, our history and our values should be taught by parents and teachers, and impressed upon all who join our society.
Assimilation is not an act of hostility, but an expression of compassion. Our system of government, and our American culture, is the best in the world and will produce the best outcomes for all who adopt it.
This approach will not only make us safer, but bring us closer together as a country.
Renewing this spirit of Americanism will help heal the divisions in our country. It will do so by emphasizing what we have in common – not what pulls us apart.
This is my pledge to the American people: as your President I will be your greatest champion. I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people.
Only this way, will we make America Great Again and Safe Again – For Everyone.
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.