In a speech made today, Hillary Clinton spoke to the Cleveland audience asserting a need for more gun control following the recent mass shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando this weekend. She pointed out the shooter's apparent "rage" against the LGBT community, mixed with his ISIS ties and a push for more anti-terrorism measures. Read her entire speech below.
Thank you. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you all very much.
Thank you. Thank you all.
Thank you. Thank you. I am — I’m absolutely — I’m absolutely delighted to be back in Cleveland and to be here at the Industrial Innovation Center. I’ve had a chance to learn about the great work you do here. I especially want to applaud Team Wendy for everything you do to protect our troops, first responders.
And others from traumatic brain injury. It is so important that we continue to support those who protect us.
AUDIENCE: We want Hillary!
CLINTON: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: We want Hillary!
CLINTON: Thank you all.
AUDIENCE: We want Hillary!
CLINTON: It is good to be back in Cleveland, I can tell you that.
I want to thank — I wan to thank your extraordinary senator, Sherrod Brown, for his leadership, for that very kind and generous introduction. You are very fortunate to — to have him representing you. I want to thank your congresswoman, Marcia Fudge…
Who is both indomitable and indefatigable. She is such a tenacious advocate for the people she represents. I want to acknowledge the mayor, Mayor Jackson, who was here, County Executive Budish (ph). And I particularly want to recognize the passing of George Voinovich, and he devoted his life to serving the people of Ohio as mayor of Cleveland, as governor and senator. And we send our prayers and sympathy to his family.
I also want to thank Dan Moore, the owner and founder of this company and Team Wendy for his belief in Cleveland, for his commitment to create jobs. I can’t wait to work with him to do more of what he has accomplished here.
You know, originally, I had intended to come to Cleveland under very different circumstances. We are heading into a general election that could be the most consequential of our lifetimes. But today is not a day for politics.
On Sunday, Americans woke up to a nightmare that’s become mind numbingly familiar. Another act of terrorism in a place no one expected. A madman filled with hate, with guns in his hands, and just a horrible sense of vengeance and vindictiveness in his heart, apparently consumed by rage against LGBT Americans, and by extension, the openness and diversity that defines our American way of life.
We will learn more about the killer in the days to come. We know that he pledged allegiance to ISIS, that they are now taking credit and that part of their strategy is to radicalize individuals and encourage attacks against the United States, even if they are not coordinated with ISIS leadership. But there’s a lot we still don’t know, including what other mix of motives drove him to kill.
The more we learn about what happened, the better we’ll be able to protect our people going forward. In the days ahead, we will also learn more about the many lives he viciously cut short, many of them young people, just starting out in their lives. They were travel agents and pharmacy techs, college students and amusement park workers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and they had one thing in common. They all had a lot more to give.
CLINTON: We should take a moment today amid our busy lives to think about them, to pray for everyone who was killed, for the wounded, those who are fighting to regain their lives and futures, for our first responders who walked into danger one more time. As a mother, I can’t imagine what those families are going through.
But let’s also remember the other scenes we saw on Sunday. We saw the faces of some of those first responders who rushed into danger and tried to save as many people as they could. We saw survivors like Chris Hansen who risked their lives to help others.
People gathering outside hospitals to comfort anxious family members, waiting for news of their loved ones and waiting, too, to learn more about what they could do to make sure this never happened again.
Religion leaders condemning hate and appealing for peace. People lining up to donate blood. Americans refusing to be intimidated or divided.
Yesterday I called Mayor Dyer of Orlando and offered my support and my appreciation for the leadership that he and the other officials have shown. This is a moment when all Americans need to stand together.
No matter how many times we endure attacks like this, the horror never fades. The murder of innocent people breaks our hearts, tears at our sense of security and makes us furious.
Now we have to steal our resolve to respond. And that’s what I want to talk to you about. How we respond.
The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive. And we must attack it with clear eyes, steady hands, unwavering determination and pride in our country and our values.
I have no doubt — I have no doubt we can meet this challenge if we meet it together. Whatever we learn about this killer, his motives in the days ahead, we know already the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists is profound.
In the Middle East, ISIS is attempting a genocide of religious and ethnic minorities. They are slaughtering Muslims who refuse to accept their medieval ways. They are beheading civilians, including executing LGBT people. They are murdering Americans and Europeans, enslaving, torturing and raping women and girls.
In speeches like this one, after Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino, I have laid out a plan to defeat ISIS and the other radical jihadist groups in the region and beyond.
The attack in Orlando makes it even more clear, we cannot contain this threat. We must defeat it. And the good news is that the coalition effort in Syria and Iraq has made recent gains in the last months.
So we should keep the pressure on ramping up the air campaign, accelerating support for our friends fighting to take and hold ground and pushing our partners in the region to do even more.
We also need continued American leadership to help resolve the political conflicts that fuel ISIS recruitment efforts.
But as ISIS loses actual ground in Iraq and Syria, it will seek to stage more attacks and gain stronger footholds wherever it can, from Afghanistan, to Libya, to Europe.
The threat is metastasizing. We saw this in Paris. And we saw it in Brussels. We face a twisted ideology and poisoned psychology that inspires the so-called lone wolves, radicalized individuals who may or may not have contact and direction from any formal organization.
CLINTON: So, yes, efforts to defeat ISIS on the battlefield must succeed. But it will take more than that.
We have to be just as adaptable and versatile as our enemies. As president, I will make identifying and stopping lone wolves a top priority.
I will put a team together from across our government, the entire government, as well as the private sector and communities to get on top of this urgent challenge. And I will make sure our law enforcement and intelligence professionals have all the resources they need to get the job done.
As we do this, there are three areas that demand attention. First, we and our allies must work hand-in-hand to dismantle the networks that move money, and propaganda, and arms and fighters around the world.
We have to flow — we have to stem the flow of jihadists from Europe and Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and then back again. The only way to do this is by working closely with our partners, strengthening our alliances, not weakening them or walking away from them.
Second, here at home, we must harden our own defenses. We have to do more to support our first responders, law enforcement and intelligence officers who do incredible work every day at great personal risk to keep our country safe.
I have seen firsthand how hard their job is, and how well they do it.
In Orlando, at least one police officer was shot in the head. Thankfully, his life was saved by a Kevlar helmet, something folks here at Team Wendy know a lot about.
It has often been said that our law enforcement, our intelligence agencies, our first responders have to be right 100 percent of the time, but terrorists only have to be right once.
What a heavy responsibility. These men and women deserve both our respect and gratitude. And they deserve the right tools, and resources and training. Too often, state and local officials can’t get access to intelligence from the federal government that would help them do their jobs.
We need to change that. We also need to work…
We also need to work with local law enforcement and business owners on ways to protect vulnerable, so-called soft targets, like nightclubs and shopping malls and hotels and movie theaters and schools and houses of worship.
Now, I know a lot of Americans are asking how it was possible that someone already on the FBI’s radar could have still been able to commit an attack like the one in Orlando, and what more we can do to stop this kind of thing from happening again.
Well, we have to see what the investigation uncovers. If there are things that can and should be done to improve our ability to prevent, we must do them. We already know we need more resources for this fight. The professionals who keep us safe would be the first to say we need better intelligence to discover and disrupt terrorist plots before they can be carried out.
That’s why I have proposed an intelligence surge to bolster our capabilities across the board with appropriate safeguards here at home.
Even as we make sure our security officials get the tools they need to prevent attacks, it’s essential that we stop terrorists from getting the tools they need to carry out the attack.
CLINTON: And that is especially true when it comes to assault weapons like those used in Orlando and San Bernardino.
I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets and we may have our disagreements about gun safety regulations, but we should all be able to agree on a few essential things.
If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist link, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked.
And you shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show.
And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.
Now, I know some will say that assault weapons and background checks are totally separate issues having nothing to do with terrorism. Well, in Orlando and San Bernardino terrorists used assault weapons, the AR-15. And they used it to kill Americans. That was the same assault weapon used to kill those little children in Sandy Hook.
We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war. And that may not stop every shooting or every terrorist attack, but it will stop some and it will save lives and it will protect our first responders.
And I want you to know, I’m not going to stop fighting for these kinds of provisions.
Now, the third area that demands attention is preventing radicalization and countering efforts by ISIS and other international terrorist networks to recruit in the United States and Europe.
For starters, it is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.
We also have to use all our capabilities to counter jihadist propaganda online. This is something that I spend a lot of time on at the State Department.
As president, I will work with our great tech companies from Silicon Valley to Boston to step up our game. We have to a better job intercepting ISIS’ communications, tracking and analyzing social media posts and mapping jihadist networks, as well as promoting credible voices who can provide alternatives to radicalization.
And there is more to do offline as well.
CLINTON: Since 9/11, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to build relationships with Muslim American communities. Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work and raise their families across America. And they are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. So we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them.
Last year, I visited a pilot program in Minneapolis that helps parents, teachers, imams, mental health professionals and others recognize signs of radicalization in young people and work with law enforcement to intervene before it’s too late.
I’ve also met with local leaders pursuing innovative approaches in Los Angeles and other places. And we need more efforts like that in more cities across America. And as the director of the FBI has pointed out, we should avoid eroding trust in that community, which will only make law enforcement’s job more difficult.
Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans as well as millions of Muslim business people and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror.
So does saying that we have to start special surveillance on our fellow Americans because of their religion. It’s no coincidence that hate crimes against American Muslims and mosques have tripled after Paris and San Bernardino. That’s wrong. And it’s also dangerous. It plays right into the terrorists’ hands.
Still, as I have said before, none of us can close our eyes to the fact that we do face enemies who use their distorted version of Islam to justify slaughtering $ innocent people. They’d take us all back to the Stone Age if they could, just as they have in parts of Iraq and Syria.
The terrorist in Orlando targeted LGBT Americans out of hatred and bigotry. And an attack on any American is an attack on all Americans.
(APPLAUSE) And I want to say this to all the LGBT people grieving today in Florida and across our country. You have millions of allies who will always have your back.
And I am one of them.
From Stonewall to Laramie, and now Orlando, we’ve seen too many examples of how the struggle to live freely, openly and without fear has been met by violence. We have to stand together, be proud together. There is no better rebuke to the terrorists and all those who hate.
Our open, diverse society is an asset in the struggle against terrorism, not a liability. It makes us stronger and more resistant to radicalization. And this raises a larger point about the future of our country.
America is strongest when we all believe that we have a stake in our country and our future.
CLINTON: This vision has sustained us from the beginning. The belief that, yes, we are all created equal and the journey we have made to turn that into reality over the course of our history, that we are not a land of winners and losers, that we should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential. And we have a responsibility to help others do so as well.
As I look at American history, I see that this has always been a country of “we” not “me.” We stand together because we are stronger together. E pluribus unum. One — out of many, one — has seen us through the darkest chapters of our history. Ever since 13 squabbling colonies put aside their disagreements and united because they realized they were going to rise together or fall separately, generation after generation has fought and marched and organized to widen the circle of dignity and opportunity. Ending slavery. Securing and expanding the right to vote. Throwing open the doors of education. Building the greatest middle class the world has ever seen.
And we are stronger when more people can participate in our democracy.
And we are stronger when everyone can share in the rewards of our economy and contribute to our communities, when we bridge our divides and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Now we have overcome a lot together and we will overcome the threats of terror and radicalization and all of our other challenges. Here in Ohio and across America, I’ve listened to people talk about the problems that keep you up at night.
The bonds that hold us together as communities, as one national community, are strained by an economy with too much inequality and too little upward mobility. By social and political divisions that have diminished our trust in each other and our confidence in our shared future. I have heard that, and I want you to know as your president I will work every day to break down all the barriers holding you back and keeping us apart. We’re gonna get an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we’re gonna forge a new sense of connection and shared responsibility to each other and our nation.
(APPLAUSE) finally let me remind us all, I remember, I remember how it felt, on the day after 9/11, and I bet many of you do as well. Americans from all walks of life rallied together with a sense of common purpose on September the 12th and in the days and weeks and months that followed. We had each others’ backs. I was a senator from New York. There was a Republican president, a Republican governor, and a Republican mayor. We did not attack each other. We worked with each other to protect our country and to rebuild our city (ph).
President Bush went to a Muslim community center just six days after the attacks to send a message of unity and solidarity. To anyone who wanted to take out their anger on our Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens, he said, “That should not, and that will not, stand in America.” It is time to get back to the spirit of those days, spirit of 9/12. Let’s make sure we keep looking to the best of our country, to the best within each of us. Democratic and Republican presidents have risen to the occasion in the face of tragedy. That is what we are called to do my friends and I am so confident and optimistic that is exactly what we will do.
Thank you all so much.