After bombers attacked an airport departure lounge in Brussels, Belgium and a metro station in Maelbeek, all public transportation was brought to a halt, long distance rail travel was halted, and the airport was evacuated as Brussels police are still concerned about more possible attacks. Brussels is a major transportation hub in the European Union. The attacks have not only stopped train travel from Brussels to Great Britain via the cross channel tunnel, and closed down the airport, halting all departures until 6:00 AM Wednesday, emergency security meetings were called in both Britain and France to assess the situation.
At least 26 people have been killed, and at least 131 injured as the blasts took place during the early morning rush hour. The attacks come just four days after Brussels police captured Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect for November’s Paris attacks on a stadium, cafes and a concert hall, was captured by Belgian police after a shootout on Friday. Latest reports say that the Belgian military strengthened security at airports and borders and Britain stepped up police presence at key locations including transport hubs.
Today’s terrorist attacks in Belgium are going to impact voters in Arizona and Utah, as they cast their ballots in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary and caucuses. While businessman and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump retains a 13 point lead in polling in Arizona over his closest rival, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Trump will gain some additional support, and the result could wind up making the contest in Arizona a rout for Trump.
In Utah, its quite a different story. Cruz leads with 42%, with Ohio Governor John Kasich at 29%, and Trump far back in third place with 11%. Trump has been touting his plan to improve U.S. security, and the Brussels attack will certainly affect voters in Utah as well.
The early morning attacks in Belgium will affect the foreign policy and anti-terrorism stances taken by the candidates, and expect for Trump to add some additional votes in Utah as a result. Cruz will need to capture at least 50% of all Utah voters in order to claim all of the state’s 40 delegates, while in Arizona, the winner will be awarded all 58 delegates.
A good finish today in Utah will be good news for the Trump campaign, as Trump seeks to keep Cruz from collecting all of Utah’s delegates, and with Kasich polling at almost 30% in Utah, he could be the candidate to whom Utah voters will gravitate towards today. For John Kasich, a strong finish in Utah could provide some additional momentum for his campaign as he seeks to stop Trump from winning the Republican nomination for president outright.
Commuters this morning in the U.S. are likely to find additional security at airports, and mass transit (bus and rail travel) stations. Remember to allow for additional time if you have a flight departing today, as Transportation Security Agency (TSA) agents will no doubt be on heightened alert. Airport security screenings are going to take longer, and allowing extra time for the screenings will make it easier for commuters to stay on schedule.
Today, we stand in solidarity with the people of Belgium. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the grieving families in Brussels and in Maelbeek, and with the cooperation of the other EU countries, Belgium can and must recover from these attacks. The twin bombings are a stark reminder to Americans that terrorist attacks can and will be attempted here in the U.S. Stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities to law enforcement that you witness to help keep our families, and our communities, safe from terror.
The American people are committed to ending the scourge of terrorism, no matter what it takes, or how long it takes. We will not be broken, and neither will Belgium on this day. We cannot and must not allow terrorism to control our activities and our lives. We all have a combined responsibility to stay alert as we go about our daily routines so that we don’t suffer any further terror attacks.