YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Republican hopeful Donald Trump on Monday doubled down on his intent as U.S. president to tighten controls on American borders — primarily as a measure to prevent future terrorist attacks inside the United States.
During a campaign speech near Cleveland on Monday afternoon, the billionaire said his intention to restrict migrants coming into the United States is intended to cut off a potential path for militants seeking to do harm on U.S. soil.
For months, Trump has stated his plan to close off U.S. borders to individuals he deems as potential terrorists.
“All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally,” Trump said at a stop in Youngstown, Ohio, about 75 miles southeast of Clevelnd. “We cannot always choose our friends, but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.”
Trump famously said last year that as president he would build a gigantic wall between the United States and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants — and even temporarily bar all members of the Islamic faith from entering, until U.S. officials can “figure out what’s going on.”
Monday, the GOP contender reiterated his stance by saying he would prohibit U.S. entry for migrants from Muslim nations and assess immigrants from ally nations based on their governments’ commitment to defeating “radical Islam” — a term he’s repeatedly criticized Democrats for, over their failure to use it.
“Anyone who can’t name our enemy is not fit to lead our country,” he said.
Video: NBC News
Calling his position “foreign policy realism,” Trump also criticized President Barack Obama‘s administration for nation-building and said he opposes the prospect of installing democratic regimes in resistant Middle Eastern nations.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said, would be a continuation of Obama’s foreign policies.
“The Obama-Clinton foreign policy unleashed ISIS [and] de-stabilized the Middle East,” he told the crowd at Youngstown State University, alleging that the former secretary of state “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on [the Islamic State].”
Trump’s remarks follow controversial claims he made last week that Obama was a principal founder of the terrorist group — not figuratively through his policies, but quite literally. He later walked back those remarks as sarcasm after the claim drew a flurry of criticisms.
Immigration was one of three areas, along with diplomacy and national security, Trump identified Monday as needing wholesale reforms.
Regarding diplomacy, Trump again stated his desire to develop a closer relationship with Russia and its controversial and often standoffish leader, Vladimir Putin — another notion that’s drawn sharp criticisms from both sides of the aisle.
“Wouldn’t [better relations with Russia] be a good thing?” he asked the crowd at Youngstown State.
Warmer relations with Moscow, though, is far down on many priority lists in Washington, D.C., given Russia’s recent military aggression in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula and complicity with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Trump’s speech on Monday followed weeks of controversies that have grown from the businessman’s remarks on various issues, which have seriously concerned several members of the GOP and reflect a deeply divided Republican Party.
“As your president, I will be your greatest champion,” Trump said, calling on voters to “reject bigotry and oppression.”