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Hillary Clinton reacts to Orlando shooting: I won't 'declare war' on a religion

The presumptive Democratic nominee speaks out about the shooting massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
/ Source: TODAY

While reaffirming her support to toughen up gun control efforts, Hillary Clinton also called upon the nation’s leaders to show “statesmanship” rather than politics following the nation’s deadliest shooting that took place over the weekend at a gay nightclub.

The nation’s leaders “have to try to get this out of partisanship. It’s a moment for statesmanship,” the presumptive Democratic nominee told TODAY in a telephone interview Monday. “It’s a moment for everybody to come together and remember those who have been murdered, stand with every person who is suffering and grieving and then try to figure out what we can do.”

At least 49 people and the shooting suspect were killed in the early Sunday morning attack that has become the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Within hours after news broke, Clinton expressed concern for victims on social media. She later issued a statement declaring the shootings as acts of terror and hate. She voiced her support for gay rights and called for stricter gun control reforms.

Her response provided a sharp contrast to her Republican counterpart. Donald Trump reiterated his controversial call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and claimed the shooting was the type of terrorism he had predicted for the country. He also criticized Clinton for not calling out the shooter in the attack for his links to "radical Islam."

Clinton fought back against Trump by telling TODAY's Savannah Guthrie, "From my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say." She later added, "To me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either."

But she said Trump failed to understand the issue at hand.

"All this talk and demagogy and rhetoric is not going to solve the problem. I’m not going to demonize and demagogue and declare war on an entire religion. That’s just plain dangerous and it plays into ISIS's hands," she said.

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Clinton also urged the nation to reject calls by the powerful gun lobby and push for a ban on assault weapons.

"We can not fall into the trap set by the gun lobby that says if you can’t stop every shooting and every incident you shouldn't try to stop any. That is not how laws work. It’s not common sense," she said.

“We need to get these weapons of war off the streets. We had an assault weapons ban, it expired, and we need to reinstate it. From San Bernardino to Aurora, Colorado to Sandy Hook and now to Orlando, we have seen the devastation that these military style weapons cause," the former secretary of state explained.

"We’re going to try to put a huge coalition together of all the groups, all the individuals who care about this issue, those who have been touched by it and try to get common sense gun safety reform passed in order to protect the people of our country."