Trump Blames Immigration for Orlando Shooting: 'The Only Reason the Killer Was in America in the First Place Was Because We Allowed His Family to Come Here'

Donald Trump also incorrectly stated that the Orlando gunman was born in Afghanistan

Photo: Jim Cole/AP

Donald Trump outlined his approach to immigration during a press conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday afternoon, expanding on his earlier promise to ban Muslims from entering the country in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub on Sunday.

“I called for a ban after San Bernardino… many are saying that I was right to do so,” Trump said, referencing the mass shooting in December 2015. He added, “I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States.”

Trump, 69, said his immigration policy will be “responsible,” and serve “the interests and values of America.”

“We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country,” Trump said in front of what sounded like a small crowd, specifically noting, “the bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact.”

The gunman, Omar Siddiqui Mateen, was “mentally unstable,” according to his ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy. His parents immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan, but Mateen was born in America – not “Afghan,” as Trump stated during his speech. The Islamic state has claimed responsibility for the attack – which left 49 dead, and 53 more injured – and a source previously told PEOPLE that authorities are looking into Mateen’s background for connections.

“We have a dysfunctional immigration system which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens,” Trump said, saying that radical Islamic “preachers of hate and violence” will subject American citizens to persecution. “As president, I will give our intelligence community, law enforcement and military the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks.”

He slammed President Obama, calling on the commander in chief to provide a public list of the complete immigration histories of all individuals implicated in terrorist activity of any kind in the years since September 11th. “The public has a right to know how these people got here,” Trump said.

Hillary Clinton also attracted Trump’s ire, with the presumptive Republican nominee stating, “Altogether, under the Clinton plan, you’d be admitting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East with no system to vet them, or to prevent the radicalization of their children.” He added, “Clinton wants to allow radical islamic terrorists to enter our country… they enslave women and they murder our gays.”

Clinton shared her own approach to the Orlando attacks in an earlier speech, Monday, calling for a ban on assault rifles and vowing to fight “lone wolves” who carry out terrorist and hate crimes. Trump mistakenly claimed that Clinton wanted to ban all guns, alleging, “her plan is to disarm law-abiding Americans.”

He promised: “I will be always defending the second amendment.”

Related Video from TIME: Witness Describes Scene at Mass Shooting in Orlando

Trump said the attack on Pulse nightclub was “a disgrace,” and expressed his “deepest sympathies to the victims.”

“We’re not acting clearly, we’re not talking clearly. We’ve got problems,” he declared. “If we don’t get tough, and we don’t get smart – and fast – we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing left.”

The businessman previously drew harsh backlash after sharing what many called an insensitive tweet in the wake of he shootings – the deadliest in U.S. history.

Trump initially tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

Despite the backlash (“Is this the grossest tweet in Twitter history? Yes. I think it is,” wrote Eric Stonestreet), Trump told Today, Monday, “I said while I appreciate – because I’ve been receiving tens of thousands of tweets literally tweets and calls and letters and everything – because I’ve been the one that predicted it. What I said is ‘I want you to be strong, I want you to be vigilant and I want you to be smart.’ I don’t want the credit.”

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