High Point, N.C. — In the wake of weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump focused his message on national security during a brief appearance Tuesday at High Point University.
Trump blamed the attacks, as well as one at a Minnesota mall, on Islamic terrorists who slipped through what he called a lax immigration screening process, and he renewed his call for a temporary suspension of immigration from some nations until "extreme vetting" can be put in place.
"Immigration security is national security," he told the cheering crowd. "We want to make sure we're only admitting people into our country who love our country."
"Since 911, hundreds of immigrants and their children have been implicated in terrorist-related activity within the United States," Trump said.
Trump criticized Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for what he said is "the most open borders policy" of any presidential candidate, including the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and allowing immigrants charged with violent crimes to stay in the U.S. if their native countries don't take them back.
"Hillary Clinton talks tougher about my supporters than she does about Islamic terrorists," he said. "Anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country."
Clinton is "responsible for the rise of ISIS" because of her policies and decisions as secretary of state, Trump said, adding that she only tries to distract from her "record of total failure" by calling his rhetoric a recruiting tool for Islamic State and other militant groups.
"Because I'm tough, it's a recruiting tool?" he said. "That demonstrates a level of ignorance about the terror threat that really is disqualifying for a person seeking the presidency."
He also blasted the Obama administration for accidentally granting citizenship to more than 800 immigrants who had been flagged as potential risks.
"They were supposed to be deported and they were given citizenship. Welcome to America," he said sarcastically as chants of "Build the wall" arose from the crowd. "Oh, we're gonna build a wall. We're gonna build...and Mexico's gonna pay for it."
The tough talk on immigrants played well with the crowd in High Point.
"We don't know who's coming over. We don't need to have those threats in our own land," Pat Fischer said.
Sherry Watford said she's absolutely opposed to allowing in any more immigrants or refugees right now.
"We have got to take care of the American people," Watford said. "We have veterans. We have elderly. We have young children whose mothers and fathers are off at war right now. We need to make sure these people are taken care of."
Trump also said Clinton's record as secretary of state has ruined the U.S. economy, leading companies to shift operations overseas and leaving the nation with a massive deficit.
"It's time to break with the corruption, the bad judgment and the failures of the past," he said. "It's time to have a new American future."
The Clinton campaign responded by noting much of Trump's manufacturing is done overseas rather than in the U.S.
Later Tuesday, Trump made a campaign stop in Kenansville at the Duplin County Events Center, commonly a locale for agricultural shows and festivals, and promised the economically struggling region that his policies would create thousands of jobs.
"We can't continue to be the suckers that allow thousands of companies, millions of jobs to be lost by moving their manufacturing plants and factories to other countries," he said. "I'll be the greatest jobs president that God ever created."
Clinton, he said, is too beholden to special interests to push for changes to boost the economy.
"She represents everyone responsible for the decades-long squeezing of the middle class," he said. "Hillary Clinton is the chief emissary of globalism, and I'm not running to be president of the world. I'm running to be president of the United States."