May 12, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demanded that President Barack Obama resign on Sunday after the president made a statement about the horrific Orlando terror attack without using the words “radical Islam”.

Early Sunday morning, 50 people were gunned down at a gay club in Orlando, Florida by an American-born Muslim man who professed his allegiance to the Islamic State before carrying out the terror attack. 50 were killed and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in American history.

Trump raised ire and controversy when he responded to the attack by using it to affirm his political stance on terrorism, saying he “appreciate[d] the congrats for being right” about the dangers of radical Islam and that he had “said this was going to happen.”

Though Trump has, indeed, forecasted “bad things” and “attacks that you wouldn’t believe”, his tweet sparked immediate and sharp blowback from social media users, politicians and celebrities who accused Trump of using the incident for political gain. Republican Meghan McCain responded:

Trump tweeted again in anticipation of Obama’s official statement on the attack, in which the president acknowledged the shooting as “an act of terror” but did not attribute it to Islamic extremism or note the connection to ISIS.

ISIS has itself acknowledged the attack, calling terrorist Omar Mateen “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America”.

Following Obama’s speech, Trump put out a statement repeating his challenge. “President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’. For that reason alone, he should step down.”

Obama has been notoriously reticent to condemn acts of terror based on religious extremism, preferring to court Arab nations and American Muslims with rhetoric of peace and tolerance rather than take a hard line on extremism. As a result, many view him as weak on terror. Trump has based much of his hawkish foreign policy on strong opposition to Obama’s perceived weakness.

“If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore,” his statement in response to the Orlando terror attack read. “Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack.”

The presumptive candidate also used the moment to reiterate his position on Muslim immigration, repeating his call to ban Muslims from entry into the US and saying America “must be tough.”

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