Hillary Clinton went on the offensive against Donald Trump in a campaign speech on Pittsburgh’s South Side on Tuesday, denouncing the Republican presidential nominee’s response to the Orlando shooting.
Calling Trump’s recently renewed support for a ban on Muslim immigration “shameful” and “disrespectful” to the victims in Orlando, Clinton noted that the slain gunman in the Orlando massacre, Omar Mateen, was born in New York City. Trump had referred to the man as “an Afghan.”
The Democratic front-runner went on to accuse her GOP rival of lacking a realistic plan to fight terrorism in the U.S. and abroad.
“First, we rely on partners in Muslim countries to fight terrorists. (The immigration ban) would make it harder,” Clinton said. “Second, we need to build trust in Muslim communities here at home to counter radicalization, and this would make it harder.”
Clinton also dismissed Trump’s claims that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment.
“He has to distract from the fact that he has nothing substantive to say,” Clinton said.
The likely Democratic nominee said she would balance gun rights with efforts to keep guns from “falling into the wrong hands.” She said it’s “absurd” that people on the FBI’s terrorism watch list can currently purchase firearms legally.
“We have reached the point where people cannot board airplanes with full bottles of shampoo, but people being watched by the FBI for suspected terrorist links can buy a gun with no questions asked,” Clinton said.
Clinton remarked that she’d been planning on addressing income inequality and the economy at the IBEW union hall on the South Side, but changed course due to the Orlando shooting.
Marianne Cleary, 70, a Pittsburgh native and Democrat living in Florida, said she vastly prefers Clinton to Trump on foreign policy issues.
“I think he’d harm the country,” Cleary said. “What President Obama has accomplished, and Secretary Hillary – he would ruin it. He would not hold up with any foreign diplomats.”
Chris Allen, 49, a Democrat of Sewickley, said she’s planning to vote for Clinton in the November election.
“I think we need to make sure that Hillary’s in the White House and that ‘President Trump’ is a phrase that’s never legitimate,” Allen said.
A handful of protesters stood across the street from the IBEW hall before the speech, standing quietly and holding anti-Clinton signs.
Donald Trump also visited the Pittsburgh region over the weekend, making a stop in Moon Township, near the Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday. During his visit, Trump focused on a need for unity in the GOP and bashed Democratic critics, calling Clinton "crooked" and Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" in reference to her Native American ancestry.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.