The Republican presidential field reacted to the attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, each sticking with his campaign message: Donald Trump played up fears around Muslim immigration. Ted Cruz blamed Barack Obama. And John Kasich played the voice of calm, calling for solidarity with Brussels.
The explosions near the Brussels airport and metro have also wounded more than 130 people, according to Belgian authorities. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders had put out a statement as of 8:30 am.
Donald Trump: "We have to be very careful"
Frontrunner Donald Trump reacted to today's attack within hours, taking to Twitter and calling Fox & Friends.
"I’ve been talking about this for a long time. Brussels was a beautiful place," Trump said, according to Mediaite. "Zero crime, and now it’s a disaster city."
He added: "It’s going to get worse and worse. It’s already happening big league in Paris."
Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2016
After groups tied to the Islamic State killed 130 people in France in November 2015, Trump saw his poll numbers rise. On Tuesday, he alluded to his proposed ban on all Muslims entering the United States.
"We have to be smart in the United States when people come in. We're taking in people without real documentation, we don't know where they're coming from, we don't know … who they are," he said, according to Business Insider. "You look at them from any standpoint, they could be ISIS, they could be ISIS-related. And we just don't learn. We don't learn."
Ted Cruz: "We have a president who refuses to acknowledge" the terrorist threat
Sen. Ted Cruz also reacted to the news on Tuesday morning, putting out a statement that expressed empathy for the victims and faulted President Barack Obama.
"Our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels this morning. Make no mistake — these terror attacks are no isolated incidents," Cruz said. "They are just the latest in a string of coordinated attacks by radical Islamic terrorists perpetrated by those who are waging war against all who do not accept their extreme strain of Islam."
The rest of Cruz's statement called for America to do more to address what he called a growing threat.
"Radical Islam is at war with us. For over seven years we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality," Cruz said. "And the truth is, we can never hope to defeat this evil so long as we refuse to even name it. That ends on January 20, 2017, when I am sworn in as president. We will name our enemy — radical Islamic terrorism. And we will defeat it."
Later on Tuesday, Cruz put out a statement that appeared to partly blame political correctness for the attacks.
John Kasich issues call for solidarity with Belgians, calls for Obama to come back to US
Unlike Trump or Cruz, Kasich put out a statement on Facebook that "expressed solidarity with the people of Belgium" but did not criticize Obama.
"Along with every American, I am sickened by the pictures of the carnage, by the injuries, and by the loss of life," Kasich said. "We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror. We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out, and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil."
Later on Tuesday, Kasich expanded on his earlier remarks and said that Obama should end his trip to Cuba and return to America.
"I would hope what the president would do, Brian, and perhaps they are, is I think he ought to return home," Kasich told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. "He ought to work with the, you know, the heads of state around the world. They ought to assemble teams and they need to examine these vulnerabilities we have, because without effective human intelligence, without coordination and cooperation among all the civilized nations, we get these gaps and these gaps get exploited by these people who are intent on killing civilized people."