The political landscape has changed drastically within the past few days after the terrorist attack in Brussels on (when). After bombs at the Brussels Airport and the subway shook the city and resulted in 31 deaths, an international crisis and response began unfolding. In the United States, presidential candidates sought to promote strength or solidarity in statements that served additional purposes of garnering voters’ support and downgrading their opponents.
Worse and Worse
Donald Trump continued to assert stricter regulations on immigration from countries abroad or from Muslim individuals, reaffirming his policy on just strengthening border control in all aspects and failing to offer any more solutions or alternatives. He stated that the situation was only getting “worse and worse” and that the U.S. could no longer “allow these people to come into the country.” While the statement runs consistently with the narrative he has formed until this point, it raises concerns if he has any more ideas if a different strategy is needed as terrorism continues to escalate.
Ted Cruz has increasingly matched a tough stance on border control and dealing with Islamic extremism, going as far as to suggest patrolling and monitoring Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. Cruz is trying to narrow the gap between himself and Trump by revamping his rhetorical strategy to include stronger verbal stances on the issues that Trump receives support on due to his own aggressive diction. This statement after the Brussels attack was immediately condemned by Democrats, and Hillary Clinton addressed it as a violation of Muslim Americans’ rights and privacy.
Solidarity in Division
Hillary Clinton issued a statement focusing on solidarity with our European allies, as well as within the United States. While her experience as Secretary of State can be undermined by events like Benghazi and her email scandal, she continues to assert herself through her language as the candidate with the most qualification for dealing with these issues, stating that these “attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.” She stands out from the crowd by using language that sounds like not only she is already the definitive Democratic candidate, but perhaps even the President (especially as he was absent while in Cuba).
Analyzing these rhetorical responses to the terrorist attack in Brussels helps paint the broader picture of how these candidates are trying to assert strong sentiments in order to attract voters. However, though this event is being used as a talking point for candidates’ stances on national security, it also reaffirms the importance of electing a president that can handle this escalation of terroristic activity.