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What Clinton, Trump Responses To Orlando Say About Their Foreign Policy


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had different responses after the shootings in Orlando - very different. Trump renewed his call to ban Muslims from entering the country, particularly from areas where, in his words, there is a proven history of terrorism. Clinton noted that the shooter was born in New York and called him, quote, "a madman filled with hate with guns in his hands." We're joined now by Richard Haass, president at the Council on Foreign Relations and, of course, a former diplomat. Richard, thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD HAASS: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: Do these different responses from the candidates suggest anything to you about how they might conduct U.S. foreign policy?

HAASS: The short answer is yes. I actually do think Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump have quite different views, not simply towards the - what was behind, say, Orlando - but more broadly, very different views of the world.

SIMON: Fill in the blanks a bit for us, if you can. How do you think that worldview differs?

HAASS: Well, in the case of Secretary Clinton, I think it's very much what you might call a traditional and mainstream view - that she believes working with what she essentially inherited - American alliances, international institutions, American leadership.

Mr. Trump, I think, takes a very different view. He sees the world, in many ways, as getting the better of the United States, questions the benefits of American leadership, much more conscious of the cost and seems to also take a more narrow view of what it is the United States should be doing in the world than Mrs. Clinton, who, certainly compared to him, has been quite interventionist.

SIMON: Donald Trump says that he respects your opinion on foreign policy. He says he listens to what you say. You met with him last August. What do you think of his foreign policy acumen?

HAASS: I share some of his skepticism of some past U.S. interventions - the Iraq war for one, Libya for another. But I also am an ardent advocate of free trade. I do believe in U.S. alliances. I don't want to see any proliferation in the world. And more broadly, I believe the United States has benefited enormously from the general outlines of what it is we've done in the world over the last, say, 70 years.

SIMON: Now, of course, you were an aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell. This week, Richard Armitage, who was also close to Secretary Powell, endorsed Hillary Clinton. Not to put you on the spot, but in some ways, does she have a more Republican view of foreign policy than Donald Trump?

HAASS: She certainly has a point of view that is more traditional, more mainstream. I would say it's more realist. What Mr. Trump is is something of an economic nationalist. He has a more narrow view of the world and America's place in the world than Secretary Clinton.

SIMON: To try and bring this back to how that worldview might be reflected in their reaction to the terrible events in Orlando, does Mr. Trump see this - seem to see whatever happened in Orlando as an instance of international terrorism, whereas Secretary Clinton sees it more as domestic terrorism that might have been inspired by some international dimension?

HAASS: I think there's something to that. I mean, Mr. Trump saw it as linked, first of all, to immigration. And he also sees it as a manifestation of international terrorism. Secretary Clinton saw it as much more something to do with the alienation or mental problems of one individual with issues related to access to certain types of guns.

And her argument was rather than distance yourself from a population, what you really need to do is have closer ties to the Muslim-American population - not to alienate them, but to work with them. So I think, again, you've got very different reactions to the specifics of how to deal with a problem that, quite honestly, I don't think we've seen the last of.

SIMON: As we speak now, do you see some of the views that you hold reflected in either campaign?

HAASS: Look, my views are fairly well-known. And I don't think it's a secret to say that there's probably a closer correlation between Secretary Clinton's views and my own than there is between Mr. Trump's views and my own. I think that's simply an honest, objective measure of where I stand and where, so far at least, the two candidates stand.

SIMON: Richard Haass, who is president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. Thanks very much for being with us.

HAASS: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.