In back-to-back interviews with Fox News hosts Greta Van Susteren and Bill O’Reilly, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump condemned Muslims and immigrants for a horrific truck attack in the French resort town of Nice, France that occurred late Thursday.
No terror group or organization has yet claimed responsibility after 77 people were killed and about 100 injured when a truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day fireworks. When Van Susteren asked Trump to contrast what Obama would say about the attack with what he would say, Trump immediately cited “radical Islamic terrorism” as a potential cause, then said “I don’t think the people come out of Sweden, okay? It’s probably, possibly but if it is indeed, radical Islamic terrorism, it’s about time that [Obama] would say so, okay?”
“I mean, it just happened now,” Trump admitted, before speculating that the attack could have been carried out by a Muslim as in “Orlando, like in San Bernardino, like in Paris, like in the World Trade Center, like many other places, if it’s radical Islamic terrorism.”
Even if the attacks are ultimately linked to Muslim or immigrants, Trump was speaking as a presidential nominee just minutes after the attack, when none of this information was known.
During his interview with O’Reilly, Trump appeared to backtrack a bit on his earlier comments, telling the host that we should “wait a little while, and let’s see what happens. Who knows? Maybe you will be surprised and maybe we will all be surprised” in the truck attack.
But in the same breath, Trump bashed the refugee process into the United States, claiming that the country will admit at least 10,000 unscreened Syrian refugees by the end of the fiscal year.
“They may be ISIS,” Trump said, alluding to the terror group Islamic State. “This could be the great Trojan horse of all time. I mean, this could be the ultimate Trojan horse.”
Syrian refugees actually undergo one of the most stringent processes to come to the United States, which can take anywhere between 18 and 24 months. The process requires at least 21 steps in which biographic information, biometrics, and documentation are shown and put under scrutiny.
Trump has long claimed that Muslims and immigrants could bring criminal activities to the United States. In fact, he launched his campaign by deriding Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. Soon after Paris was under siege from a terror attack, Trump called for a ban on Muslims immigrating into the United States, later adding that Muslims should be put into a database so that they can be tracked. He has also condemned resettling Syrian refugees in the country, using a similar argument that they lack documentation.
On the basis of this speculation, Trump said he agreed that this was now a “world war scenario” and, as president, he would seek a formal declaration of world war from Congress.
“I would. I would,” Trump told O’Reilly. “If you look at it, this is war, coming from all different parts. And frankly, it’s war and we’re dealing with people without uniforms. You know, in the old days, you would have uniforms. You knew who you were fighting.”
Trump then pivoted to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s U.S. immigration policies that would potentially allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country.
“These people — we are allowing people into our country, who we have no idea where they are, where they are from, who they are, they have no paperwork, they have no documentation in many cases and Hillary Clinton wants to allow 550 percent more in than even Obama,” he added.
Prior to the interviews, Trump tweeted that he would postpone the announcement of his vice presidential candidate, originally set for Friday.
In light of the horrible attack in Nice, France, I have postponed tomorrow's news conference concerning my Vice Presidential announcement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2016