Donald Trump reiterated in the fifth Republican debate on Tuesday night that he would be open to “closing parts of the Internet” to prevent ISIS from attracting recruits, but it wasn’t clear exactly what he meant.
“ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet and it was our idea,” Trump said. “I want to get the brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS can’t do what they’re doing.”
CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer tried to get Trump to clarify: “Are you open to closing parts of the Internet?” Blitzer asked.
“I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody,” Trump said. “I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. Yes sir, I am.”
Later on in the debate, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul attacked Trump’s proposal, calling it unconstitutional. Trump appeared to walk back his comments.
“I’m not talking about closing the Internet,” Trump said. “I’m talking about closing parts of the Internet where ISIS is.”
Trump said earlier this month that he was in favor of closing parts of the Internet and brushed aside fears about restricting freedom of speech: “We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”