Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wasted no time in calling out Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr for his comments regarding the San Bernardino shooting. Falwell commented during the university's weekly remark on 4 December, that more Americans should conceal carry guns to help "end those Muslims".
Falwell was discussing the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which left 14 dead when he made the controversial remarks. "I've always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them," the son of the late religious right leader Jerry Falwell Sr said.
He continued: "It just blows my mind when I see the President of the United States say that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control. If some of those people in that community centre had what I've in my back pocket right now...Is it illegal to pull it out?...I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course. Let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here."
According to The Associated Press, Falwell later attempted to clarify his comments by claiming he meant to say terrorists instead of Muslims. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called Falwell's comments "rash and repugnant". Clinton also condemned the comments during an interview on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
"This is the kind of deplorable, not only hateful, response to a legitimate security issue, but it is giving aid and comfort to Isis and other radical jihadists," the Democratic frontrunner said. At a separate event on 6 December, Clinton added that Islam is "not our adversary." The Hill reported Clinton was speaking at the Brookings Institute's Saban Forum when she said: "It is a clash between hate and hope, and the vast majority of Muslims are on our side of the battle unless we drive them away."
She continued: "Declaring war on Islam or demonising the Muslim-American community is not only counter to our values, it plays right into the hands of terrorists." Clinton called on Americans to support Muslims instead of "scapegoating" them.