Donald Trump on Monday morning claimed credit for accurately calling the weekend’s explosion in Manhattan a bombing, even before full details were in, as the Republican presidential nominee attempts to exploit the latest terror threats to boost his campaign.
Trump slammed the media for attacking him over his early use of the bomb term and accused them of editing out clips of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton using a similar term. (CNN came under fire for using a clip of Hillary Clinton that axed her reference to the bombings, the first response from her gaggle with reporters Saturday.)
“If you saw her in the back of the plane — and she used the word ‘bombs’ also, by the way. I heard — I didn’t see it — but I heard I was criticized for calling it correctly,” Trump told “Fox and Friends” in a telephone interview. “But what I said was exactly correct. I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news.”
Trump claimed “everybody” has said that he was right but “called it too soon.” “OK, give me a break,” he continued. “But Hillary Clinton used the word ‘bombs’ shortly thereafter and nobody said anything about it. And somebody said some of them edit that word out. They took it out. Hey, folks, it’s a rigged system, and I’ve been saying it for a long time. And the news is as dishonest as anybody there is.”
Trump told supporters at a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night that “a bomb went off,” a remark that preceded public confirmation from local officials as they responded to an explosion that injured 29 people.
“Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York, and nobody knows exactly what’s going on, but boy, we are living in a time,” he said Saturday.
Clinton, however, did the same thing, all the while attacking her opponent for his untimely assessment. Speaking to reporters aboard her campaign plane Saturday evening, Clinton said that she had been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota.”
Despite using a similar term as Trump, though, the former secretary of state dinged her rival just moments later.
“I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this,” she said. “I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.”
The real estate mogul suggested the media were attacking him not because he cited the explosion as a bombing before it was confirmed but because polls are tightening. National polls released last week by Fox News and CBS News/New York Times show a tight race between both candidates in a head-to-head, with Trump leading by 1 percentage point in the Fox News poll but trailing by 2 percentage points in the CBS News/New York Times survey.
“The reason is because my poll numbers now are so good that they’re so worried,” he said.
Respondents to the Fox News poll narrowly favor Clinton as the candidate they think would perform better on the terrorism and national security front, 47 percent to 46 percent.
Terrorism has punctuated the presidential campaign, with domestic and international attacks striking areas including San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; and Paris and Nice, France.
The attacks, at times, have yielded very different responses from the candidates trying to convince Americans that they can best handle these threats as commander in chief. Clinton has tried to position herself as the steady hand America needs, while Trump has portrayed himself as a strong leader who will obliterate terror threats.
Clinton’s responses to such incidents are usually much more cautious and measured than Trump’s, who is often criticized for his actions in the wake of terror attacks. Case in point: Following the domestic attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando, Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslims that he has since modulated and triumphantly tweeted that he is appreciative of “the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
On Monday, he seemingly recommended profiling, arguing that law enforcement officials “know who a lot of these people are” but “don’t wanna be accused of profiling and they don’t wanna be accused of all sorts of things.”
“We don’t wanna do any profiling,” Trump said. “If somebody looks like he’s got a massive bomb on his back, we won’t go up to that person and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ because if he looks like he comes from that part of the world, we’re not allowed to profile. Give me a break.”