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Democrats argue over ISIS, Trump

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Washington: As Democratic presidential contenders sparred at their last debate of the year, frontrunner Hillary Clinton suggested that her Republican rival Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims was becoming a potent and powerful tool for ISIS.

“He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” she said during Saturday’s Democratic debate, hosted by ABC News.

When asked about her emphasis on gun control in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attacks by a Pakistani-origin couple, Clinton again hit out at Trump saying the real estate mogul is pushing the wrong narrative in the fight against the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a militant group.

“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,” she said.

That message seemed to be “that there is a clash of civilizations, that there is some kind of western plot or even war against Islam, which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization”, said Clinton.

Clinton’s closest rival, self-styled democratic socialist Bernie Sanders too attacked Trump, but for supporting low wages. “He thinks low wages are a good idea,” he said.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, whose campaign has not gained much traction, said the US “must never surrender our American values to racists, must never surrender them to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths”.

The three candidates also clashed over gun rights with Clinton saying more citizens purchasing firearms wouldn’t help matters and Sanders focusing on a search for “consensus” on gun regulations.

“Guns in and of themselves, in my opinion, will not make Americans safer. We lose 33,000 a year already to gun violence. Arming more people — to do what(?) — is not the appropriate response to terrorism,” Clinton said.

Sanders disagreed saying that “it’s a divided country on guns. But there is a broad consensus on gun safety regulation”.

He called for background checks for potential gun owners and the closure of loopholes that allow easier purchases at gun shows.

O’Malley attacked both, saying: “Secretary Clinton changes her position on this every election year, it seems. What we need on this issue is not more polls. We need more principle.”

Clashing over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Sanders said Clinton is “too much into regime change and too aggressive without knowing what the consequences may be”.

Clinton hit back saying that Sanders had voted for regime change in Libya. She also warned against any policy that would allow Iran to increase its role in Syria, equating such a move to “asking the arsonist to come and pour more gas on the fire”.

But Sanders stated that “we have got to get our foreign policy and our priorities right. It is not Assad who is attacking the United States — it is ISIS”.(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)