Donald Trump addresses fatal Orlando nightclub shooting after Twitter backlash for initial comments
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/14/2016
Donald Trump has addressed the Orlando shooting after being slammed for a Twitter comment many people deemed inappropriate and insensitive after the attack.
On Monday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee gave a statement on the fatal rampage while making an appearance at Saint Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, NH.
"I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, Jewish people are targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence," Trump, 69, said during the 30-minute speech, according toUs Weekly.
"This is not just a national security issue. It's a quality-of-life issue. We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country -- many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer."
Police identified the shooter in the tragic event as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, FL. He opened fire in the gay nightclub called Pulse just after 2AM, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more.
Trump -- who previously made controversial comments about how it's too simple for non-documented Muslim immigrants to enter our country -- initially took to Twitter on Sunday to address the deadliest shooting in American history.
"Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant? Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!" Trump tweeted.
Celebrities and followers quickly expressed their disapproval over Trump's "appreciate the congrats" remark. He was accused of trying to gain political points in the wake of a tragedy and being heartless and disgusting.
The former The Celebrity Apprentice star then attempted to clarify the meaning of his highly-criticized word choice.
"I said 'while I appreciate' -- because I've been receiving tens of thousands of tweets, literally tweets and calls and letters and everything -- because I've been the one that predicted it. What I said is, 'I want you to be strong, I want you to be vigilant and I want you to be smart.' I don't want the credit," Trump said on the Today show, according to Us.
Trump also tweeted Sunday that President Barack Obama is failing to keep the United States strong and safe.
"Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!" Trump declared on Twitter.
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"Reporting that Orlando killer shouted 'Allah hu Akbar!' as he slaughtered clubgoers. 2nd man arrested in LA with rifles near Gay parade... 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."
Reports claim Mateen, who was born in New York although his parents hail from Afghanistan, allegedly pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS prior to his deadly attack. His father, however, has insisted he was not "radicalized."