Several fellow Republican presidential candidates were quick to condemn Donald Trump’s call Monday to end all Muslim entry to the United States.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was first to respond, calling the statement “downright dangerous” to the United States, and he was quickly followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who called it “ridiculous” and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush who called Trump “unhinged.”
In a statement Monday afternoon, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” He argued that all Muslims should be considered suspect. “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,” Trump said.
Appearing on conservative radio host Michael Medved’s show, Christie called Trump’s plan “a ridiculous position and one that won’t even be productive.“
“This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement.
But other Republican candidates withheld their fire from Trump.
Speaking to reporters, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz declined to condemn Trump, saying “that is not my policy.” He, like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have called for bans on refugees from countries where Islamic extremist groups are active. Paul’s plan went even further, introducing legislation to temporarily ban all visas from most countries with large Muslim populations, along with countries like Russia and North Korea.
Ben Carson told reporters there should be no religious test for traveling to the U.S., but said all visitors should be monitored.