Presidential candidates offer critiques on Brussels attack

Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 22, 2016

The following are AP reports from the presidential candidates after this morning’s terrorism attack in Brussels, Belgium.  The most recent reports are listed first in this collection.

(AP) John Kasich is criticizing President Barack Obama for not cutting his Cuba trip short in light of the attacks in Brussels, but the Ohio governor is offering far more muted rhetoric on the attacks than his GOP competitors, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Speaking to reporters in Minneapolis Tuesday, Kasich says Obama should return to the United States to call European heads of state and assemble intelligence experts at home. He’s suggesting the president is being “too lax” in facing the growing threat of what he calls radical Islamic terrorism.

Despite Kasich’s use of that term, he’s criticizing his opponents for suggesting all Muslims should be targeted. Earlier Tuesday, Cruz said Muslim neighborhoods should be patrolled, and Trump has reiterated his calls to ban Muslims from entering the country.

Kasich says he doesn’t believe all Muslims in Minnesota or elsewhere are “somehow intent on trying to destroy our families.”

He adds, “the last thing we need is more polarization . . . this is a time when you have to keep your cool.”


(AP) Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says the attack in Brussels, Belgium, is a “brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy” the Islamic State group.

The Vermont senator says “this type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.”

Sanders is offering his condolences to the families who lost loved ones in what he calls “another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

He says the U.S. will stand with its European allies.


(AP) Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says he would use the “full force and fury” of the U.S. military to defeat the Islamic State group.

“This is war,” Cruz told journalists at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “Their target is each and every one of us.”

Cruz condemned rival and front-runner Donald Trump that the United States saying Trump’s comments suggest that America should abandon its allies.

The three Republican candidates addressed the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference Monday, presenting their views on foreign policy, America’s alliance with Israel and the fight against the Islamic State group.


(AP) – Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich says he is “sickened by the pictures of the carnage” from Brussels, following attacks on the city’s metro system and airport.

The Ohio governor said in a statement Tuesday that the global community must “redouble” efforts to “identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil.”


(AP) – Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz says that “radical Islam is at war with us,” following the attacks on the Brussels metro and airport.

The Texas senator took to Twitter Tuesday to attack President Barack Obama’s approach to tackling extremism, writing that “for over seven years, we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality.”

Cruz declared in his final tweet that such an approach “ends on January 20, 2017, when I am sworn in as president.”


(AP) – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says the city of Brussels is “a total disaster” and said he’s warned about such attacks taking place.

Speaking to Fox News Tuesday, as developments were still unfolding in Belgium, Trump said “Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it’s a disaster city.”

Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States following terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. He previously called Brussels a “hellhole.”


(AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says the United States must “stand in solidarity” with European allies after the deadly bombing attacks in Brussels.

Belgian officials say 31 people were killed Tuesday and 187 wounded in two explosions at the Belgium airport and one at a city subway station.

The former secretary of state told NBC News that the U.S. must intensify efforts to prevent terrorism in conjunction with its allies. “We’ve got to be absolutely strong and smart and steady in how we respond,” she says.

But Clinton also said that it is unrealistic to say that the United States can completely shut its borders.

Clinton is campaigning in Washington state ahead of the primaries there tonight.