Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump said Monday that the man suspected of opening fire on an LGBT nightclub Sunday in Orlando, Florida and killing 49 people was only able to do so because of the nation’s “immigration system.”
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire. “That is a fact and a fact we need to talk about.”
Trump, who read from a teleprompter, then appeared to catch himself after suggesting the shooter was born in Afghanistan. Law enforcement officials said Sunday that Omar Mateen was born in New York.
“The killer whose name I will not use or ever say was born in Afghan—of Afghan parents who emigrated to the United States,” Trump said.
While Trump has already called for a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the country, he suggested Monday that he would broaden that ban.
“When I’m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats,” Trump said.
Trump blamed “political correctness” for crippling the country’s ability to address such acts of terror.
“We’re not acting clearly, we’re not talking clearly,” Trump said. “We’ve got problems.”
Trump said he “refused to be politically correct” in criticizing President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He claimed they both have damaged the country’s security by “restraining our intelligence gathering.”
“We have to screen applicants to know whether they’re affiliated with or supporting radical groups and beliefs. Very simple,” Trump said. “We have to control the amount of future immigration into this country and we have to prevent large pockets of radicalization from forming inside America. Not complicated.”
Clinton gave her own speech addressing the Orlando shooting earlier in the day from Cleveland, Ohio. She vowed to go after “lone wolves” who carry out terror attacks on U.S. soil and offered her sympathies to the Orlando victims’ families. But Trump questioned that support.
“Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country and suppress women, gays and anyone else who doesn’t share their views or values,” Trump said.
He further argued that Syrian refugees shouldn’t be accepted into the country unless there is “proper supervision and proper leadership.”
“In which case,” he said, “They’re out of here.”
This post has been updated.