Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, after the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, is certain that Islamic extremism is a world problem. In fact, he was quick to say just that in several interviews Tuesday, doing it in his own blunt fashion, with plenty of blame-casting, generalizations, and simplistic analysis. Donald Trump’s solution for stopping terrorism, at least with regard to the U.S., was not as vague. It centered around more stringent measures of immigration surveillance.
The Hill reported March 22 that Donald Trump told Fox Business News that Islam is the primary source of terrorism around the world. Speaking with Maria Bartiromo via phone, he labeled it a “sick problem.”
“Frankly, we’re having problems with the Muslims. These attacks are not done by Swedish people. That I can tell you. We have to be smart. We have to look at the mosques and study what’s going on. There is a sick problem going on.”
The Brussels terrorist attacks, according to TIME, included three separate bombings in the city targeting transportation hubs. Two occurred at Zaventem airport and a third at a subway train near European Union headquarters. (A third bomb was later deactivated at the airport.) The current death toll stands at 34, with another 190 wounded. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility.
Appearing on CBS This Morning, Trump said he’d be “extremely careful” about letting Middle Eastern people into the United States. “We should be vigilant at our borders,” he added. Pressed to clarify his statement regarding vigilance, the billionaire businessman said “good documentation” should be required.
Was Donald Trump backing off of his exclusionist stance from a few months ago, where he famously called for the sealing of the U.S. borders against Muslims? He said it was not, because he never said what the media claimed he said.
“I didn’t say shut it down. I said you have to be very careful. We have to be very, very strong and vigilant at the borders. We have to be tough.”
But as with many statements made by Donald Trump, what he maintains he said can be checked against the public and/or media record. And in this case, he did call for a complete closure of the borders against Muslims, several months ago and on Tuesday.
Following the San Bernardino shootings in December, where two radicalized Islamists claiming fealty to the Islamic State (ISIS) opened fire on a holiday party of county employees and killed 14 people, Trump delivered what he referred to as a policy statement (per The Guardian). In it, he called for a “total and complete shutdown” of the borders to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice… Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. We’re going to have to figure it out. We have to figure it out. We can’t live like this.”
On Tuesday, he told Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, according to The Hill in a separate report, that he would “close up our border.”
So, despite saying that he had not called for a shutdown against Muslims, the record shows that he did. Regardless, the Republican frontrunner insisted in each of his interviews that more surveillance of Muslims and better controls at the borders are necessary to thwart future acts of terrorism.
Trump continued his push for stronger measures against terrorism during the day. He even took to Twitter to pledge he would put an end to it.
My heart & prayers go out to all of the victims of the terrible #Brussels tragedy. This madness must be stopped, and I will stop it.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2016
In a sit-down interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, he insisted that “Islam hates us.” When asked if he thought that the hatred was “in Islam itself,” Trump said the media would have to figure it out. He again repeated that the U.S. has to be “vigilant” and “careful,” adding, “And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.”
As to solutions to the terrorism problem itself, the presidential candidate would not enter into specifics as to what he would do as president. But Donald Trump did tell Anderson Cooper that he would consult “with the generals” because the U.S. has to “play the game at a much tougher level than we’re playing it now.”
[Image via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0]