Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called in to Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren Monday evening to defend his call for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.”
In the face of overwhelming criticism, the GOP frontrunner said he “absolutely” stood by his statement.
Trump noted that President Obama and his ilk are refusing to acknowledge the problem of radical Islamic terrorism. He also panned the president’s address to the nation Sunday night, calling it “one of the most ridiculous speeches I’ve ever seen.”
He cited studies showing that a significant number of Muslims around the world have “tremendous animosity” towards Americans, and argued that we cannot let terror attacks like what happened in San Bernardino continue to occur.
Van Susteren asked Trump what he would do about Muslims serving in our military overseas.
“Anybody here, stays,” Trump answered, “but we have to be very vigilant. There’s a lot of bad things going on. When you look at these polling numbers that came out — there is tremendous hatred, tremendous animosity.”
He added that “there’s a tremendous section and cross-section of Muslims who have tremendous animosity.”
“We have an obligation to protect our citizens,” Trump argued. “We’re not doing it with a president like President Obama. He hasn’t got a clue. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. The man doesn’t have a clue.”
Van Sustern asked Trump what he meant by “until we understand what’s going on.”
Trump answered: “It’s very simple. The level of hatred, the level of death, the level of violence — we have to be able to figure out what’s going on.”
It didn’t take long for Trump’s proposal to be been torn apart on Twitter and elsewhere by Democrats and Republicans alike.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reportedly “outraged,” Democrat presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called Trump a “fascist demagogue,” and GOP candidates John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, and Jeb Bush (all vying for the last-place slot in the primary) condemned the proposal.
“This is just more of his outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is totally unsuited to lead the United States,” said Kasich in a written statement.
“Every candidate for president needs to do the right thing & condemn @Realdonaldtrump‘s statement,” said Graham on Twitter.
“Donald Trump is unhinged. His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious,” Bush tweeted.
Chris Christie wrote, “This is kind of thing people say when they have no experience & no idea what they’re talking about.”
“Unfortunately I think Donald Trump’s over reaction is as dangerous as Obama’s under reaction,” Carly Fiorina piled on.