Donald Trump Friday walked back his comments that Muslims register in the United States after a huge backlash from his Republican presidential rivals, including a rare rebuke from Ted Cruz.
The front-runner said on Twitter after a speech in South Carolina:
Trump was bitterly attacked for a response to a question on whether Muslims should be required to register
after a speech in Iowa on Thursday.
"They have to be," he said in video that was posted on MSNBC.com.
Muslims would be signed up at "different places," Trump said, adding that the program would be "all about management."
Trump's GOP rivals immediately pounced on the remarks — even Democrat Hillary Clinton bashed him on Twitter — and Cruz broke with his longstanding policy of not attacking the developer during the campaign.
"I'm a big fan of Donald Trump's, but I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens," the Texas senator said after a speech in Iowa, Politico reports
. "The First Amendment protects religious liberty. I've spent the past several decades defending religious liberty."
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Trump Friday as a "blowhard"
and likened his Muslim comments to "ISIS propaganda."
But Trump hit back, also on Twitter:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another GOP contender, also derided Trump's about-face:
The move came on a day that Trump and rival Ben Carson came under attack for their comments about Muslims.
Carson compared blocking potential terrorists posing as Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. to handling a rabid dog
"If there's a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog," Carson said at a campaign stop in Alabama. "It doesn't mean you hate all dogs, but you're putting your intellect into motion."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned both Trump and Carson's comments as "Islamophobic and unconstitutional."
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