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Here's What US Politicians Are Saying About the Terror Attacks in Brussels

Donald Trump promised to control the border and embraced torture (again), Hillary Clinton vowed to take on jihadists, and Ted Cruz freaked out about "radical Islam."

by Helen Donahue
Mar 22 2016, 5:30pm

Donald Trump on the stump. Photo via Flickr user Michael Vadon

On Tuesday, three bombings in Brussels—two at Zaventem airport's departure area and a third on a subway train at Maelbeek metro station—left at least 30 people dead and over 200 more injured. The attacks followed the arrest on Friday of Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, believed to be one of ten people directly involved in the November attacks that killed 130 in Paris. The Islamic State was quick to claim responsibility for the attacks in Belgium in a posting by an affiliated news agency called Amaq.

In the United States, President Obama and the bevy of candidates running to succeed him roundly denounced the tragedy early Tuesday, offering condolences as well as more pointed vows and potential policy responses. As you might expect, Donald Trump had the most colorful—and lengthy—take.

Here's a roundup of what the people who run—or want to run—America are saying.

President Obama

"The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people," the President said at a televised press conference in Cuba. "We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible. And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality, race, or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world."

Donald Trump

"Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime. And now it's a disaster city. It's a total disaster, and we have to be very careful in the United States," the Republican frontrunner told Fox and Friends Tuesday.

"We have no idea what's happening. Our government has absolutely no idea what's happening, but they're coming into our country," he continued. "They're coming in by the thousands and just watch what happens. I'm a pretty good prognosticator... just watch what happens over the years. It won't be pretty."

In another interview with Today, Trump once again said he wants to tighten the border and use harsh, extra-legal tactics on terrorist suspects like Abdeslam. "I would be very, very tough on the borders [as president], and I would be not allowing certain people to come into this country without absolute perfect documentation," he said, also promising, "Waterboarding would be fine. If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people."

The candidate also told CBS, "They have areas in Brussels where the police can't even go. The police are afraid to go there. The police don't even go there. It's a mess. And if you look at Paris, believe me, it's the same thing. It's pretty close. It'll be the same thing. It might be worse, if you want to know the truth. So you know, all of these cities that we think so much of, they're from different planets right now, all because you allowed people into the cities that shouldn't be in there, frankly."


"Terrorists have once again struck at the heart of Europe, but their campaign of hate and fear will not succeed. The people of Brussels, of Europe, and of the world will not be intimidated by these vicious killers," the 2016 presidential candidate said in a statement making the rounds on Twitter Tuesday. "Today Americans stand in solidarity with our European allies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded, and all the people of Belgium. These terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life, but they will never succeed. Today's attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.

"This is a time for us to reaffirm our solidarity with our European friends and allies, individually and through NATO," she added in an interview of her own onToday.

Ted Cruz

"Radical Islam is at war with us. For over seven years, we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality. And the truth is, we can never hope to defeat this evil so long as we refuse to even name it," the Republican senator from Texas posted on his Facebook page. "That ends on January 20, 2017, when I am sworn in as president. We will name our enemy—radical Islamic terrorism. And we will defeat it."

In a news conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Cruz added, "President Obama should be back in America keeping this country safe. Or President Obama should be planning to travel to Brussels."

Bernie Sanders

"We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians," the Democratic senator from Vermont competing with Clinton for their party's 2016 presidential nomination said in a statement. "We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.

"Today's attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS," Sanders added. "This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue."

John Kasich

"We and our allies must rededicate ourselves to these values of freedom and human rights. We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror," the Republican candidate and Ohio governor said in a statement on Twitter.

"We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out, and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil," he added. "We must strengthen our alliances as our way of life and the international system that has been built on our common values since the end of the Second World War comes under challenge from these and other actors of evil."

Hillary Clinton
Bernie Sanders
Donald Trump
barack obama
ted cruz
John Kasich