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Presidential Candidates React to Brussels Terror Attacks

Brussels Terror Attacks
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

As news networks switched from covering Tuesday’s presidential primaries to the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Republican and Democratic presidential candidates reacted by offering condolences and their own ideas about how they would respond to the global threat.

Appearing on CNN, Hillary Clinton said that “we have to remain alert and vigilant,” noting that even though the Brussels attacks were coordinated, the U.S. has experienced lone wolf attacks and, in the case of the San Bernardino terrorism, perpetrators who apparently were radicalized.

She said that the U.S. had to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and cut off the flow of funds to extremist groups.

“We have to take them on on the Internet,” she told Wolf Blitzer. “You can put walls around your country, but you don’t keep out the Internet, and that has been a major tool for radicalizing, recruiting, propagandizing that ISIS has been quite sophisticated in using.”

Clinton added, “We have to keep adjusting and changing its mission to meet the new threats that we, as members of NATO, face. I think it would be a grave error to walk away from Europe, to walk away from NATO, to turn our backs on countries with whom we have a long history and shared values, and frankly who we need to be working closely with as we combat and defeat ISIS and other terrorist threats.”

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said that President Obama should cut short his trip to Cuba and scrap plans to attend a baseball game there.

Donald Trump told “Fox & Friends” that Brussels was now “a disaster city. It’s a total disaster, and we have to be very careful in the United States, we have to be very careful and very vigilant as to who we allow in this country.” He also told NBC’s “Today” that he would “do a lot more than waterboarding” to glean information from terror suspects.

On Tuesday, Arizona is holding a presidential primary, Utah is holding caucuses and Idaho is holding a Democratic caucus.

Clinton and one of Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz, criticized Trump for suggesting in an interview with CNN on Monday that the U.S. should reexamine its role with NATO.

“I think it would be a grave error to walk away from Europe, to walk away from NATO, to turn our backs on countries with whom we have a long history and shared values, and frankly who we need to be working closely with as we combat and defeat ISIS and other terrorist threats,” Clinton told CNN.

According to CNN, Cruz said that it was “striking that the day after Donald Trump called for weakening NATO, withdrawing from NATO, we see Brussels, where NATO is headquartered, the subject of a radical Islamic terror attack.”

Earlier in the day, Trump took to Twitter to not only condemn the attacks but to also reinforce his immigration policy and plans while urging people in Utah and Arizona to vote for him in today’s primaries.

He also criticized President Obama.

Bernie Sanders offered condolences and assistance to Europe, while also supporting democratic ideals.

Ted Cruz took to both Twitter and Facebook.

Our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels this morning. Make no mistake -- these terror attacks are no isolated...

Posted by Ted Cruz on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Brussels was hit with two terrorist attacks early Tuesday morning during peak traffic hours — the first at the Brussels Airport, Zaventem, and the second at the Maelbeek metro station. At least 34 were killed in the attacks and dozens injured.

Belgium has raised its terrorist alert level to the highest level, cautioning people to avoid highly trafficked areas and stay put for the rest of the day. This comes only a week after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in last November’s Paris attacks.