Hillary Clinton chose not to call the couple that perpetrated the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. "terrorists" during her Tuesday address on counterterrorism.
Clinton referred to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik instead as "shooters," making no reference to their ties to terrorism.
"Now as we all know, on December 2 two shooters killed 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California," Clinton said.
Clinton has referred to the shooters in less ambiguous terms on other occasions, making her choice of words on Tuesday all the stranger. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, for example, Clinton called Malik a "jihadist."
Clinton’s odd choice of words may have been an attempt to redirect the public discussion about domestic terrorism to one of the issues she likes to emphasize on the campaign trail: gun control.
Indeed, Clinton said Tuesday that gun control would make Americans safer from terrorist attacks. Clinton said that if she was elected president she would support a federal assault weapons ban, universal background checks, and a ban on gun sales to individuals on the terrorist watch list. Earlier this year, Clinton had to walk back comments expressing support for an Australian-style gun confiscation plan.
This is not the first time Clinton has tip-toed around discussions of terrorism. Last week, Clinton explained her decision not to use the term "radical Islam," saying it demonizes Islam and "helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS."
Clinton used her Tuesday address to outline a three-step plan to defeat ISIS, the first step of which is "defeat ISIS."