Clinton decries attacks; Trump backers try to quell ‘birther’ issue


Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.

Hillary Clinton on Sunday condemned what she described as “apparent terrorist attacks” in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.

The Democratic presidential candidate made the statement a day after a bomb rocked the Chelsea district in New York City, a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey seaside community and a stabbing attack unfolded at a Minnesota mall.

Officials in New York and New Jersey said Sunday they were still investigating who was behind the explosions and what the motivation was, while the Minnesota attack was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.

Clinton stressed that investigations were still underway, saying: “Law-enforcement officials are working to identify who was behind the attacks in New York and New Jersey and we should give them the support they need to finish the job and bring those responsible to justice – we will not rest until that happens.”

On the attack in St. Cloud, Minn., the former secretary of state noted that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility and added, “This should steel our resolve to protect our country and defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups.”

Clinton noted her plans to take on the Islamic State group, which include increased intelligence and efforts to better combat propaganda and recruitment online.

Both presidential candidates have been quick to weigh in on the attacks.

On Saturday evening, Republican nominee Donald Trump appeared to pre-empt New York City officials when he declared that a “bomb went off” in New York City before officials had released details. Trump made the comments around 9:10 p.m., shortly after the explosion in Manhattan’s crowded Chelsea neighborhood and as emergency officials were responding to the blast.

“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York, and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said. “But boy we are living in a time – we better get very tough, folks.”

On Sunday, Trump’s most prominent supporters insisted that he’s put the burden of “birtherism” behind him with his concession that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. But like their candidate, they tried to blame Clinton’s campaign and rejected any notion that Trump’s political identity is founded on five years of peddling the false rumor that Obama was born elsewhere.

“It’s over,” said Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

But saying Trump’s admission of the error was behind him – as two sitting governors and several other Trump supporters did across the Sunday talks shows – doesn’t necessarily make it true. The issue is nearly certain to come up during Trump and Clinton’s first debate, Sept. 26.

The episode reflects Trump’s penchant for spreading unsubstantiated claims when he stands to gain from them and his refusal to apologize or take responsibility when he’s been wrong.

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