Real-estate mogul Donald Trump stressed on Friday that he had not proposed the idea of having a database for Muslim Americans after he was widely criticised for appearing open to the idea.
“I didn’t suggest a database-a reporter did,” the Republican presidential front-runner tweeted.
He added, “We must defeat Islamic terrorism & have surveillance, including a watch list, to protect America.”
In a Yahoo News interview published Thursday, Trump did not discount the idea when asked if his future national-security measures could include a database of Muslim-Americans or a special form of identification for them.
“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said after Yahoo’s Hunter Walker asked him about the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
Trump didn’t back off the data idea, either, when an NBC reporter asked him about it on Thursday.
“There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases,” Trump responded, speaking between campaign stops in Iowa.
Additionally, a Trump campaign spokeswoman reportedly said the candidate would not “take anything off the table” when she was asked about the database.
Republican and Democratic presidential rivals criticised Trump for the database idea. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) called it “an outrageous and bigoted statement.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “shocking.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said it “strikes against all that we have believed in our nation’s history.”
Trump’s defenders, meanwhile, argued that reporters had forced the controversy upon Trump. Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh pointed out that Trump had simply shifted the discussion to other subjects when he was asked about a potential Muslim database.
“Trump has not suggested it,” Limbaugh said on his show, according to a transcript. “So the reporter’s not asking a question bouncing off anything Trump has said. It’s just a question thrown at Trump, and it comes to him in the midst of autograph seekers and fans and supporters wanting to meet him after his performance is finished.”
Limbaugh added of Trump: “He has not confirmed a database. He has not confirmed registration of Muslims. He’s changed the question.”
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