Sunday, December 13, 2015

Outrage After Trump's Anti-Muslim Statements

On December 7th, Donald Trump called for banning Muslims from entering the U.S. during a speech in South Carolina. His statement has triggered outrage at home and abroad, and rightfully so. Republicans, Democrats, world leaders, and aid providers have rejected Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric as bigoted, divisive, and dangerous.

First, many presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush, took to social media to denounce Trump's plan.

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz was lukewarm in his response. According to the Washington Post, Cruz admitted during a press conference that he disagreed with Trump's proposal, but stopped short of criticizing Trump. Cruz instead offered his own proposals for stemming the flow of refugees into the U.S., including the option for governors to decline admission to refugees and a three-tear moratorium on refugees fleeing countries where ISIS is active.

According to the New York Times, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was swift in his condemnation. During a news conference on December 8th, Ryan denounced Trump, arguing that his anti-Muslim statements do not represent conservatism or America.
"Freedom of religion is a fundamental Constitutional principle. It's a founding principle of this country. Normally, I do not comment on what's going on in the presidential election. I will take an exception today. This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it's not what this country stand for."
High ranking U.S. officials quickly blasted Trump's anti-Muslim comments. Vice President Joe Biden warned that "what he’s preaching is a very, very dangerous brew for America," according to Bloomberg. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told MSNBC that Trump's proposal was "irresponsible", "probably illegal", and "contrary to our national security efforts", according to Reuters.

During the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow Event in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Trump for conflating Islamic extremists and upright Muslims. Trump's comments run counter to the spirit of the Constitution, Kerry asserted. (Hat tip to Bloomberg.)
"...ISIL/Daesh is not Islam, and there are courageous Muslims around the world, in the Middle East, elsewhere, standing up to it. There are people fighting ISIL. And we cannot succumb to plunking everybody in the world into one pot. I mean, that is not America. That is not our Constitution. And we, in our policies, have a policy of nondiscrimination and a policy of religious tolerance.

And frankly, what Mr. Trump has said runs contrary to all of that and makes our job of reaching out to people and sharing the real America just that much more complicated and that much more difficult. And that’s about as diplomatic as I can put it."
During a December 8th White House press briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest argued that Trump's statement "disqualifies him from serving as president". Earnest also blasted other Republican candidates for not ostracizing Trump. (Hat tip to Al Jazeera America.)
"Now, I know that each of the Republican candidates has already taken an oath pledging to support Donald Trump for president of the United States if he wins the nomination.  But the fact is the first thing a president does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  And the fact is that what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president.  And for Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Trump, that in and of itself is disqualifying."
Trump's alarming proposal has not rattled his supporters, judging from polling numbers. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump remains ahead of other Republican candidates as of December 11th, with 35% of Republican respondents supporting him. Even more disturbing is the fact that almost two-thirds of Republican respondents did not find his remarks offensive. (More here and here.) If Trump's blatantly unconstitutional and unethical proposal wasn't enough to alienate most Republican voters, what does that say about our electorate?

Hateful rhetoric shouldn't be part of American politics. If Trump stays in the presidential race, however, we can expect more xenophobic language as the 2016 election draws closer. We must also condemn such language at every opportunity.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Politico: Trump plan pushes Muslim Republicans toward exit

Think Progress: Republican Muslim Leader Asks Donald Trump To Attend Worship Service With Her 

Huffington Post: Prominent Muslims React To Trump's Islamophobic Border Plan


  1. A definition of satire is taking a perceived wrong to its logical extreme. Trump has done and is doing this with the GOP platform, except he's not trying to highlight the wrongs of his party by exaggerating them. He's serious … and the current frontrunner. It's beyond surreal.

    1. Agi Tater -- American politics are getting scarier and weirder. I never dreamed someone as extreme as Trump could get this far.


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