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What the presidential candidates and the Utah delegation are saying about the Brussels attacks

2016 presidential candidates.
2016 presidential candidates.
Composite Photo, Deseret News/Associated Press

In the wake of the attacks on an airport and subway in Brussels, the 2016 presidential candidates have expressed their thoughts by way of Twitter, Facebook and speeches.

Of the Republican candidates, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the first to release a statement on Twitter expressing his solidarity with Belgians.

"We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror," he wrote, going on to write that the perpetrators needed to be identified, rooted out and destroyed.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, posted on Facebook, saying, "Our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels this morning," adding that the attacks were the "latest in a string of coordinated attacks by radical Islamic terrorists." He said that if he were elected, he would defeat radical Islamic terrorism.

Our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels this morning. Make no mistake -- these terror attacks are no isolated...

Posted by Ted Cruz on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cruz also said Tuesday that surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. must be intensified following the bombings.

Cruz said the U.S. should stop the flow of refugees from countries where the Islamic State militant group has a significant presence. The Islamic State took credit for the attacks at the Brussels airport and a subway station that killed dozens Tuesday and wounded many more.

"We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," the Texas senator said in a statement.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon in New York, Cruz praised the city's police department's former program of conducting surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods, called for its reinstatement and said it could be a model for police departments nationwide.

"New Yorkers want a safe and secure America," Cruz said. "New Yorkers saw first-hand the tragic consequences of radical Islamic terrorism."

After the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department used its intelligence division to cultivate informants and conduct surveillance in Muslim communities. In a series of articles, The Associated Press revealed the intelligence division had infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds. The program was disbanded amid complaints of religious and racial profiling.

Donald Trump joined Cruz in blaming the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, for ending it.

"He took it down and he knocked it out and that was a terrible mistake," said Trump, adding: "We can be nice about it and we can be politically correct about it, but we're being fools, OK?"

Trump tweeted that he remembered what Brussels was like before, and that the U.S. needed to be "vigilant and smart".

In another tweet, he mentioned that he hoped Arizona and Utah would vote for him today and that he has "proven to be far more correct about terrorism than anybody".

The GOP front-runner also intensified his past calls for the U.S. to engage in harsher interrogation techniques, arguing that Belgium could have prevented the bombings had it tortured a suspect in last year's Paris attacks who was arrested last week.

"Well, you know, he may be talking, but he'll talk a lot faster with the torture. ... Because he probably knew about it. I would be willing to bet that he knew about this bombing that took place today," Trump said.

Trump, who has proposed a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S., said "nothing's nice" about techniques such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning. He added, "It's your minimal form of torture. We can't waterboard and they can chop off heads."

When reminded that international law prohibits torture, Trump responded: "Well, I would say that the eggheads that came up with this international law should turn on their television and watch CNN right now, because I'm looking at scenes on CNN right now as I'm speaking to you that are absolutely atrocious."

Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, and Hillary Clinton also tweeted about the attacks.

In a series of tweets, Clinton said her thoughts and prayers were with the families involved and that terrorists would never succeed in undermining democratic values.

Sanders tweeted a full statement, offering "any necessary assistance in these difficult times" to European allies.

"Today's attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS," the press release said.

Sanders, campaigning in Arizona on Tuesday, said boosting national security and protecting civil rights must go hand-in-hand. He said he strongly disagrees with calls for heightened domestic surveillance of Muslims.

"That would be unconstitutional it would be wrong," Sanders said.

Members of the Utah Delegation also weighed in, with many of them mentioning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries who were injured in the attacks.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined the two points by tweeting a link to a statement on his website.

"An attack like this is an attack on all western civilization, a truth highlighted by the fact that three missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were injured in the blasts," the statement read.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, similarly talked about both the attack and the injured missionaries in statement-turned-Facebook post.

"We pray for the families of the fallen and for the LDS missionaries from Utah who have been injured in these attacks," the post read.

Senator Hatch's statement on the attacks today in Belgium, and the LDS missionaries from Utah who were injured --

Posted by Senator Orrin Hatch on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, shared the KSL.com article about the missionaries injured in the Brussels attack on Facebook and Twitter, later tweeting a photo captioned "Prayers for Brussels."

Prayers are with all those injured and killed in this senseless terrorist attack.

Posted by Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, initially tweeted that he was praying for those in Brussels, then moved into a series of tweets that mirrored what his official press release said.

Not long after, Stewart tweeted that he was "praying specifically" for the missionaries who were injured in the attack.

On Twitter, Rep. Mia Love issued a brief message that she was praying for the Utah missionaries who were injured and their families.

Contributing: Associated Press

Email: vromney@deseretdigital.com

Twitter: GinnyRomney