US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are preparing for their first debate on Monday with a focus on national security. Photograph: (AFP)
Republican candidate Donald Trump's campaign said rival Hillary Clinton was trying to divert attention from their failures to tackle terror
Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday said her Republican rival Donald Trump's rhetoric against resettling refugees in the United States is helping the cause of militant groups.
Clinton said Trump's words are helping the Islamic State militant group to recruit more fighters. She went on to call him "a recruiting sergeant for terrorists" in her campaign in White Plains, New York.
She said militants are turning it into a religious conflict and using Trump's rhetoric as a recruiting tool.
"We know that a lot of the rhetoric we heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular, ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against Jihadists," Clinton said.
Trump has called for a ban on resettling refugees in the United States from Syria and other violence-wracked Middle Eastern nations, which could go against him in the elections.
Clinton sought to show a steady hand in the wake of the weekend bomb blasts in New York and New Jersey. She urged Americans to remain calm but vigilant.
"This threat is real, but so is our resolve. Americans will not cower. We will prevail. We will defend our country and we will defeat the evil, twisted ideology of the terrorists," Clinton said.
In his appearance on a chat show, Trump demanded radical change.
Trump's campaign rubbished Clinton's response as a "disgusting attempt to distract" from failures to tackle the Islamic State group.
He sought to show that these latest attacks are an inevitable result of Clinton and Obama's weak handed anti-terror and immigration policies.
"Our country has been weak. We're letting people in by the thousands and tens of thousands. I've been saying you've got to stop it," Trump told Fox.
The recent attacks have renewed the focus on terrorism and put national security at center-stage as both candidates prepare for their first debate on Monday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
(WION with inputs from agencies)