Following the nation’s most deadly mass shooting that left 50 dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump said Sunday he will change the subject of a planned Monday speech to address “this terrorist attack, immigration, and national security.”
Trump had originally planned to use the speech to present a litany of attacks against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
According to senior Trump campaign staff, the presumptive GOP nominee was going to serve up a “charge sheet” against Clinton, including broadside attacks on her infamous private email server, her handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, and allegations for the former Secretary of State tried to silence women who may have been involved with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
While Republican consultants and party leaders have advised Trump to avoid the more personally tinged attacks, most of which date back decades, events have forced Trump to abandon the speech altogether.
Trump said in a statement Sunday he will instead continue a favored line of argument: the need to “get tough” on what he called radical Islamic terrorism and stem the tide of immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
Earlier in the day Trump said he “appreciated the congratulations” from supporters who said he was right to make Islamic terrorism a central focus of his campaign, and claimed credit for predicting more attacks would afflict the nation.
“What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
In the statement, Trump fixated on the attacker’s Muslim and Middle Eastern origins, rather than his anti-gay views or his use of a legally purchased AR-15 assault rifle in the deadly dance club siege.
“The terrorist, Omar Mir Saddique Mateen, is the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan who openly published his support for the Afghanistani Taliban and even tried to run for President of Afghanistan,” said Trump. “According to Pew, 99 percent of people in Afghanistan support oppressive Sharia Law.”
Trump brandished those facts as evidence in favor of his notorious plan to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States,” said Trump. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.
“If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. 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. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore,” Trump continued.
Trump made no specific reference to the apparent anti-LGBT motivation behind the shooter’s attack.
Trump will give his revamped remarks on Monday at New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH.