Politics

How Republican Presidential Candidates Are Responding To The Paris Attacks

CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

In this Nov. 12, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump blamed Barack Obama for the terrorist attacks in Paris on Saturday, suggesting that the president was misleading the American people about the true threat of the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL.

The business mogul was referring to an interview Obama did with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Obama did say that “we have contained” ISIS, but he was specifically talking about how the terrorist group hadn’t gained ground in Iraq. He also talked about the difficulty of fighting such a disparate group with traditional military forces and the need to recruit the right allies.

Trump came under criticism when a tweet he posted in January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks resurfaced, which suggested France’s tough gun laws didn’t stop such attacks.

He re-upped that line of attack during a rally in Texas on Saturday, saying the Paris attacks would have been “a much, much different situation” if the victims had been armed with guns. He doesn’t explain how guns could stop suicide bombers. In fact, one suicide bomber was stopped by guards at the stadium location and turned away, but he detonated the bomb at the entrance anyway.

Most presidential candidates, including Republican frontrunner Ben Carson, called for prayers and thoughts to be with Parisians in the aftermath of the attacks.

But Carson also offered a concrete proposal during a campaign stop in Florida: stop Middle Eastern refugees from coming to the United States. “If we’re going to be bringing 200,000 people over here from that region — if I were one of the leaders of the global jihadist movement and I didn’t infiltrate that group of people with my people, that would be almost malpractice,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

The United States recently increased the number of Syrian refugees it will accept from the previous 1,500 per year to 100,000 by 2017. Some looking to aid refugees say even that number is insufficient to help the more than 4 million people who have fled the violence and civil war in Syria. But even this proposal has received pushback from Congress, which may block any attempts to help refugees resettle in the United States.

Other Republican presidential candidates had more specific thoughts about policies moving forward. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), for instance, said the U.S. should be more tolerant of “civilian casualties” in its airstrikes against ISIS.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the attack is part of “an organized effort to destroy Western civilization” during a radio interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt on Friday night. He also promised to “take out ISIS.”

Article 5 of the NATO treaty stipulates that an attack on one member of the alliance is seen as an attack all of the others. “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,” the treaty says.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee offered the most detailed proposal, which included recommending “close[ing] our borders instead of Guantanamo” and “institut[ing] an immediate moratorium on admission to those persons from countries where there is strong presence of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.” He also suggested revoking the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though Iran has been seeking to become an ally in fighting ISIS.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered a more measured response that also vaguely called for “improv[ing] our defenses, destroy[ing] terrorist networks, and depriv[ing] them of the space from which to operate.”

Additional reporting by Kira Lerner.