Republicans Recognize the Danger in Targeting a Religious Group

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “You don’t ban somebody on race [or] religion.”

The words of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) reflect Republican leaders’ recognition that Donald Trump’s rhetoric, including his repeated call for a ban that would keep Muslims from entering the country, is antithetical to American values.

“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interests,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said this morning.

“I think you have to be a little careful with the rhetoric,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said. “You don’t want to inflame or help the recruiting efforts.”

“Saying nothing would have been better,” added a member of the Republican National Committee. “Every Senate candidate will be forced to answer for Trump’s bizarre response. … His lack of empathy is jarring.”

When Trump first proposed a ban, constitutional scholars responded that such a measure would be unconstitutional.

That’s to say nothing of its assault on American values including religious freedom, as well as opportunity and diversity. And Trump’s remarks call into question whether he would take extreme measures.

In [Monday’s] speech, Trump flatly called for a suspension of immigration from all areas of the world with a history of terrorism, while simultaneously saying that we have no effective means for screening those who are coming here or for preventing the radicalization of their children,” Greg Sargent writes in the Washington Post. “The internment of tens of thousands of Japanese people — aliens and citizens alike — was justified at the time on the grounds that there was no way of screening people who were loyal to America from people who were disloyal.”

Nor do such ideas or rhetoric make us safer.

“Trump’s polarizing rhetoric on this issue may be the best thing the Islamic State has going for it, according to some leading U.S. and foreign counter-terrorism experts,” columnist David Ignatius notes. “ … Inflammatory, xenophobic statements about Muslims reinforce the jihadists’ claims that they are Muslim knights fighting against an intolerant West. Trump unwittingly gives them precisely the role they dream about.”

“Donald Trump’s proposals have no place in the land of the free,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. “For centuries we have lived by ‘e pluribus unum,’ and a presumptive nominee for president is trying to divide us.

“That is unacceptable on every level. It does not make us safer. It does not make us stronger. It does not adhere to our values as a country.”


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