Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Monday for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" ...The proposed ban wouldn't just apply to immigrants and visitors:
The proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of Islam who want to come to the U.S. The idea also raised immediate questions about whether it could pass muster under constitutional protections of the free exercise of religion.
When asked by The Hill whether that would include Muslim-American citizens currently abroad, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks replied over email: "Mr. Trump says, 'everyone.'"As Charles Johnson notes, the commenters at Breitbart love this idea:
Couldn't agree more.David Brody, of Pat Robertson's CBN news organization, thinks it's a gutsy move:
Mr Trump: "Cease All Muslim Immigration , NOW "
the people want this
Trump is the only one with common sense.
When you are at war, you do not let the enemy in.
WHERE THEY CAME FROM
yes and NOW!
Here is the truth whether you like it or not:@realDonaldTrump is only candidate to have the bravery to put out that statement on Muslims— David Brody (@TheBrodyFile) December 7, 2015
But it's all too much even for the rest of the GOP field:
Donald Trump is unhinged. His "policy" proposals are not serious.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 7, 2015
On the Michael Medved Show, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Trump’s position “ridiculous.”John Kasich calls the plan "outrageous divisiveness." Ben Carson's spokesperson says Carson "would not advocate" what Trump is advocating. Ted Cruz says Trump's proposal is "not my policy."
“There’s no question in my mind, but there are folks in this race who don’t care about what the law says because they’re used to being able to just fire people indiscriminately on television,” Christie said. “So, they don’t have to worry about laws say or not say.”
“And you do not need to be banning Muslims from the country,” Christie added. “That’s, in my view, that’s a ridiculous position and one that won’t even be productive.”
I think Trump may have gone too far this time -- not too far to suffer in the polls, of course (he'll probably get a bump), but so far out there that even fellow Republicans and pundits will make it uncomfortable for him to defend this position.
So will he walk it back? Maybe, a little.
Remember when we were told (accurately) that Trump had spoken approvingly of the notion of implementing a Muslim-tracking database? Trump accused the media of being "dishonest." Breitbart and Ann Coulter accused the press of smearing Trump. Dishonest LIEberal media! Trump was talking about tracking people arriving from overseas! he and his backers insisted. He'd had plenty of time to clarify his position in real time, and hadn't, but the guy who never walks things back did so in this case -- because he could then turn it all into an attack on the media.
That's what he'll do if he's put under enough pressure in this case. He can't claim that he didn't mean what he said, because the proposal is right there on his website.
But what he'll do is claim that we misunderstood his words. He'll base the claim on this sentence from his press release:
Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.He'll say,
I didn't mean we'd ban Muslims forever -- I meant just until we can figure out what's going on. In a Trump administration, we're going to know what's going on very, very quickly. We'll know who's dangerous and who isn't. It won't take us very long to figure that out, because figuring it out is just good management.It'll all be the media's fault for misunderstanding him.
And the media will just report that and move on, as if nothing disturbing happened.
UPDATE, TUESDAY: Told ya.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters today, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, currently at the center of a political firestorm over his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S., responded to critics' concerns....
"It's short term," he said today of the proposed ban. "Let our country get its act together. ... It could be very quickly if our country could get its act together. ... We need toughness and smartness and we have to do it quickly."