Clinton blasts Trump over comments on generals, Putin
"Every Republican holding or seeking office in this country should be asked if they agree with Donald Trump about these statements," Clinton said. Clinton's remarks followed a Wednesday night national security forum, where the presidential candidates made back-to-back appearances.
The Democrat was repeatedly challenged on her controversial email use at the State Department and her vote as a senator for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She also flushed out several national security priorities if she is elected, including trying to take out the leader of the Islamic State and vowing to defeat the extremist group without putting US troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria.
Clinton suggested she agreed with Democrats who say she is being held to a different standard in the White House race. “I don’t understand the reasons for it,” she said. “I find it frustrating, but it’s part of the landscape we live in,” she added.
Wednesday’s forum served as a preview of sorts for Clinton and Trump’s highly-anticipated presidential debates. The candidates will face off for the first time on September 26 at Hofstra University.
Generals ‘reduced to rubble’ under Obama: Trump
Meanwhile, Trump was harshly critical of the military, saying America's generals have been "reduced to rubble" under Obama. Asked to square his request for military options with that criticism, Trump said simply: "They'll probably be different generals."
Trump stood by a previous comment that appeared to blame military of sexual assaults on men and women serving together, but added he would not seek to remove women from the military. And for the first time, he opened the door to granting legal status to people living in the US illegally who join the military.
“I think that when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation,” Trump said. “And I could see myself working that out.”
‘Putin better leader than Obama’
The Republican also renewed his praise for Putin and his disdain for President Barack Obama, saying that the Russian enjoyed an 82 per cent approval rating. "The man has very strong control over a country," Trump said. "It's a very different system and I don't happen to like the system, but certainly, in that system, he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."
Trump also repeated an incorrect claim that he was opposed to the war with Iraq before the invasion. That assertion is contradicted by an interview Trump did with Howard Stern in September 2002 in which he was asked whether he supported the invasion. He replied, “Yeah, I guess so.” With just two months left for the election, national security has emerged as the main issue in the White House race.
‘Will go after Baghdadi same way as Laden’
Hillary Clinton has said that the US will go after ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the same way America had focussed on defeating al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden if she is elected as the next president. “We have to defeat ISIS. That is my highest counterterrorism goal and we have got to do it with air power,” she said. “We have got to do it with much more support from the Arabs and the Kurds, who will fight on the ground against ISIS. We have to squeeze them by continuing to support the Iraqi military,” Democratic presidential candidate Clinton said here on Wednesday. A ‘commander in chief’ forum, hosted by NBC on the decommissioned USS Intrepid, which is now a floating museum, brought Clinton, 68, and her Republican rival Donald Trump, 70, together just weeks before they square off at the first presidential debate on September 26.