Thursday July 18, 2019
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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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Support for U.S. President Donald Trump Increases Slightly among Republicans

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents

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US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 16, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows.

The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week.

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm.

Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.

US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump portrays Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., left, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., 2nd left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., 3rd left, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., right, as foreign-born troublemakers. VOA

Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41% of the U.S. public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55% disapproved.

The results showed strong Republican backing for Trump as the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution on Tuesday, largely along party lines, to condemn him for “racist comments” against the four Democratic lawmakers.

All four U.S. representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are U.S. citizens.

Three were born in the United States.

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The public response to Trump’s statements appeared to be a little better for him than in 2017, after the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In that instance, Trump’s net approval dropped by about 10 points a week after the Charlottesville rally.

This time, while Democrats and some independents may see clear signs of racial intolerance woven throughout Trump’s tweets, Republicans are hearing a different message, said Vincent Hutchings, a political science and African-American studies professor at the University of Michigan.

“To Republicans, Trump is simply saying: ‘Hey, if you don’t like America, you can leave,” Hutchings said. “That is not at all controversial. If you already support Trump, then it’s very easy to interpret his comments that way.”

US, President, Donald Trump
The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Pixabay

By criticizing liberal members of the House, Trump is “doing exactly what Republicans want him to do,” Hutchings said. “He’s taking on groups that they oppose.”

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The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and gathered responses from 1,113 adults, including 478 Democrats and 406 Republicans in the United States. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 points for Democrats or Republicans. (VOA)