After Bombings, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Clash Over Terrorism

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 8.59.53 AMALEXANDER BURNS

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

 

Good Tuesday morning.
A suspect in a bombing was still at large Monday morning, his motives and intentions unknown — but Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump were already racing to seize the political upper hand.
With a manhunt still in progress before an arrest later in the day, Mrs. Clinton sought to shift the terms of the presidential contest back in her direction. She called Mr. Trump a “recruiting sergeant for the terrorists” and, from a rainy airport in White Plains, offered herself as a seasoned warrior against terrorism.
Mr. Trump returned fire hours later, blaming Mrs. Clinton and President Obama’s handling of immigration and the Iraq war for bringing terrorism to American shores. He called for vigorous police profiling of people from the Muslim world and drew a direct equation between immigration controls and national defense.
The attacks could reframe the presidential race around stark questions of national security after weeks of often-bitter sniping between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton over more personal matters of character, transparency and medical records. The violence of the weekend is all but certain to ripple in the first presidential debate, set for next Monday at Hofstra University on Long Island.
For both the candidates and their parties, the bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend are a critical inflection point. Not since the Iraq war has the mantle of national security and protection been more vigorously contested than it has been in this campaign, or its textures more difficult to define.
With seven weeks left in the campaign, the candidates’ responses to an apparent terrorist plot on American soil could sharply alter voters’ views not only of them but of the parties they lead. And both candidates set up extraordinary stakes, each asserting that the other was not only wrong on national security, but actively abetting terrorists in word or deed.
It was Mrs. Clinton who appeared most determined to bend the moment to her advantage. Mr. Trump, she said on Monday, has helped the Islamic State and other terrorist groups cast their attacks as part of a religious war between Islam and the West.
Mr. Trump responded with indignation. His campaign released a string of statements expressing outrage, criticizing Mrs. Clinton for favoring more lenient immigration policies and calling her attack on Mr. Trump tantamount to an accusation of treason.
Traffic approaching the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., this month. The opening arguments started on Monday in the trial that stemmed from the closing of access lanes to the bridge in 2013.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
By KATE ZERNIKE

The assertion at trial was the first time the New Jersey governor had been accused of knowing about the scheme at the George Washington Bridge to punish a local mayor.

Hillary Clinton speaking on Monday at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER

In a speech at Temple University in Philadelphia, Mrs. Clinton made her most targeted general election pitch yet to young voters, with whom she has struggled.

Donald J. Trump at the fund-raiser, which was held in Des Moines in January while the candidate skipped a debate.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
By PETER EAVIS

Some 40 states require registration by charities raising money within their borders. But Mr. Trump’s foundation does not show up in most of those registries.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey endorsed Donald J. Trump in Fort Worth on Feb. 26.

Cooper Neill for The New York Times
POLITICAL MEMO
By MAGGIE HABERMAN

In a typical election, having prosecutors declare that a top adviser to a candidate was aware of a plot like the 2013 George Washington Bridge closing would have enormous ramifications.

On the Trail

Mr. Trump has two events in North Carolina, and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana will be in Virginia.
Neither Mrs. Clinton nor Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has public events on the schedule.
Donald J. Trump at the fund-raiser, which was held in Des Moines in January while the candidate skipped a debate.

Trump Campaign Vows to Fund Florida Push, Official Says, but Cash Is in Limbo

By TRIP GABRIEL

A promised $1.9 million would be used for an “intensive door knocking and phone call program for the last 40 days,” said Susan Wiles, the Florida state director.

THE 2016 RACE
At a Target store in Chicago the day after Thanksgiving in 2015. Imported goods like electronics could become a lot more expensive if a President Trump managed to start a trade war.

Why a President Trump Could Start a Trade War With Surprising Ease

By JUSTIN WOLFERS

The asymmetry of trade politics: New agreements require congressional approval, but undoing existing commitments does not.

Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, spoke at a rally in New York last week.

Another Slip for the Libertarian Nominee, Gary Johnson: ‘Nobody Got Hurt’

By KATIE ROGERS

Mr. Johnson quickly corrected himself on Twitter after misspeaking about terrorist attacks in New York and Minneapolis.

Former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, at the Republican debate in Houston in February.

Elder Bush Plans to Vote for Hillary Clinton, a Kennedy Says

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Robert F. Kennedy’s eldest daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, said the 41st president plans to vote Democratic in the presidential election.

Our Other Favorites From The Times

Donald J. Trump at the fund-raiser, which was held in Des Moines in January while the candidate skipped a debate.

Senate Is Set to Vote on Zika and Government Funding

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Sticking points remain, but the chamber is expected to vote to advance a bill to finance the overall government and to pay for efforts to combat the virus.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was taken into custody on Monday, in connection with bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey on Saturday. He was wounded in a gunfight with the police.

Ahmad Khan Rahami Is Arrested in Manhattan and New Jersey Bombings

By MARC SANTORA, WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM, AL BAKER AND ADAM GOLDMAN

Mr. Rahami, 28, was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder after he was wounded in a shootout with the police in New Jersey.

The Rahami family’s restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J. The family had a fractious relationship with neighbors and the police because of the always-open hours the restaurant kept and the rackety customers it attracted.

Ahmad Rahami: Fixture in Family’s Business and, Lately, a ‘Completely Different Person’

By N. R. KLEINFIELD

In recent years, some friends of Mr. Rahami, the suspect in the Manhattan and New Jersey bombings, noticed a marked change in his personality and religious devotion.

What We’re Reading Elsewhere

The Washington Post argues that seeming chaos like the explosions in New York and New Jersey is Mr. Trump’s best friend.
The New York Daily News has created an interactive that lets users track the “biggest controversies, flubs and insults” Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton have committed in each state.
Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to voters in “the most pro-Trump and pro-Clinton districts in Ohio,” finding in each “a cautious optimism about their future and their preferred candidate” that seems to clash with the general election’s chief narrative that the candidates are the least popular “in modern history.”