UPDATED: 1:43 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton turned a presidential rally Monday in Cleveland into a counterterrorism speech, reacting with strong words to the deadly shooting rampage Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people killed. But since it was technically a campaign event, Clinton made sure to save some of her vitriol for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
After offering some state-centric pleasantries to the Ohio audience, Clinton abruptly proclaimed that “today is not a day for politics,” before continuing: “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."
But it's how American's respond to adversity that is most important, Clinton said. "The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive."
From there, Clinton turned her attention to the Islamic State group. “I have laid out a plan to defeat ISIS and the other radical jihadist groups," she said using the popular acronym for the terror organization. “We cannot contain ISIS; we must defeat it.”
Clinton addressed the fact that Omar Mateen — the gunman in Sunday's shooting — was on the FBI's radar a few years before he launched his attack, proposing an "intelligence surge to bolster our capabilities across the board.
"But it’s essential we stop the terrorists from getting the tools they need to carry out the attacks,” such as assault weapons that were used in Orlando and San Bernardino, she said to a standing ovation. “Weapons of war have no place on our streets.”
However, she admitted, “If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to go buy a gun with no questions asked,” which is apparently what Mateen was able to do a few days before the shooting.
Before she ended her remarks, Clinton seemingly couldn't help herself in taking an apparent shot at Trump, who has renewed his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. She appealed to Muslims in America to help identify suspected terrorists, something she said everybody should be doing, “not scapegoating or isolating them.”
Hillary Clinton's rally scheduled for Monday afternoon is expected to cover a number of topics, but chief among them will no doubt be Sunday morning's deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has already spoken at length on the tragedy, and on Monday morning she told CNN live on the air that the incident "was a terrorist attack."
Donald Trump — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — and Clinton have issued separate takes on the Orlando massacre, and their respective opinions couldn't be more different. Clinton immediately offered her condolences for the 49 victims and their families while simultaneously questioning the country's gun laws. Trump, on the other hand, took the opportunity to boast of his apparent vindication for "being right" about the threat in the U.S. that he says is posed by Islamic-inspired terrorism, the Associated Press reported.
Clinton's speech and rally is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT. You can watch by clicking here or by watching the embedded video below.
Clinton's speech will come two hours ahead of one scheduled by Trump in New Hampshire. Both rallies were scheduled before Sunday morning's shooting, all but forcing both candidates to change their planned topics of discussion to that of terrorism, counterterrorism and national security, CBS News reported.
"Secretary Clinton will further address this act of terrorism and hate, and the steps she would take to keep Americans safe, in Cleveland on Monday and the days after that," one of Clinton's aides told CBS News.
Trump's speech will largely focus on the same talking points, only his speech may have a slightly different tone than Clinton's. The New York real estate mogul said Sunday afternoon that he predicted the shooting and took the opportunity to renew his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. The person authorities have identified as the gunman — Omar Mateen — was born in the U.S. While Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, any contact between the two had not been immediately established.
"I said this was going to happen, and it is only going to get worse," Trump said in a statement. "I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore."