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Tags: candidates | blast | trump | ban | muslims | U.S. | entry

Bush Calls Trump 'Unhinged,' GOP Rivals Blast Plan to Ban Muslims

 Bush Calls Trump 'Unhinged,' GOP Rivals Blast Plan to Ban Muslims
 The August 6, 2015 GOP debate (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 December 2015 07:49 AM EST

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump drew fire from all sides on Monday after issuing a statement calling for the "complete and total shutdown" of all Muslims entering the United States. 

"Donald Trump is unhinged," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted. "His 'policy' proposals are not serious."

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another of Trump's rivals for the GOP nomination, issued a statement saying, "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."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham responded in a series of tweets, saying Trump is endangering lives.

South Carolina Republican Chairman Matt Moore, whose state is third on the primary voting calendar, said that "as a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump's bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine."

The nearly unanimous condemnation from fellow Republicans, Democrats and legal and immigration experts showed no sign of affecting Trump. He reiterated his proposal to keep Muslims out of the U.S. "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on" at a Monday night rally in South Carolina, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Trump has faced pushback from within his party for earlier comments about Muslims, but never with such speed and force. Some rivals challenged his debunked assertion that thousands of Muslims living in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. The GOP field largely condemned his support for the idea of a database to track Muslims living in the U.S., but his comments were vague enough that Trump was able to walk them back without much harm to his campaign.

Trump's comments Monday came as his lead in preference polls in Iowa, the state that kicks off the nominating contest, appeared to be challenged by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

If the real estate mogul's goal was to shift focus away from Cruz and back onto his candidacy, he no doubt succeeded. Trump's comments seem aimed squarely at Republican primary voters wary of Muslims, particularly those with direct ties to countries in the Middle East that have spawned violent extremist groups.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had not responded to Trump's statement late Monday afternoon, but he retweeted Fox News reporter Trish Regan quoting him, "Let's not admit anyone new from the Middle East until we vet those already here."

Paul's statement was not the same as Trump's, who called on a ban of all Muslims. Paul simply called for a ban on people from the Middle East, and did not use a religious litmus test.

"This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they're talking about," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told radio host Michael Medved. "We do not need to endorse that type of activity, nor should we."

"His overreaction is as dangerous as Barack Obama's underreaction," businesswoman Carly Fiorina said on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." "He is mobilizing anti-Muslim sentiment. He is preying on the fears of the American people. It is called rabble-rousing."

CNN's Teddy Schleifer tweeted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's response.
Liz Mair, former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, said Trump is helping the other side.

White House adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN Trump's statement is "totally contrary to our values as Americans. We have in our Bill of Rights respect for the freedom of religion.

Rhodes said the statement also plays into the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS), which wants to paint its effort as a war between the West and Islam.Political analyst Dick Morris, appearing Monday on "Newsmax Now," said Trump's idea won't work, but he was less harsh in his criticism than others.

"He's phrasing it wrong," Morris said. "I don't think you could have a religious test, that might be unconstitutional."

Instead, Morris said a ban on immigration from countries that the State Department says are sponsors of terrorism could be implemented.

"It's all right to say where we want to take immigrants from and that would be a very smart thing," he said. "An initial step we could take right away would be to ban student visa entrance from those countries."

Trump, meanwhile, doubled down amid the criticism, retweeting CBN News' David Brody.

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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump drew fire from all sides on Monday after issuing a statement calling for the complete and total shutdown of all Muslims entering the United States. Donald Trump is unhinged, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted. His...
candidates, blast, trump, ban, muslims, U.S., entry
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 07:49 AM
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