Donald Trump is not backing down anytime soon. On Monday night, the GOP presidential hopeful, 69, called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” Since then, members of his own party as well as his opponents, friends, and many more have banded together against the billionaire.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, he sat down with Barbara Walters, who had previously interviewed his family for 20/20, to talk about his reaction to the backlash. When the veteran reporter asked Trump if he regretted proposing his ban, he replied, “Not at all. We have to do the right thing. Somebody in this country has to say what’s right. I have great respect and love, I have people that I have tremendous relationships with, they’re Muslim, and, Barbara, they agree with me 100 percent.”
The former Celebrity Apprentice host went on to clarify that he doesn’t view his ban as being permanent.
“It’s short term,” he insisted. “Let our country get its act together. They knocked down the World Trade Center, they tried doing it twice, other things have happened. There are people that have tremendously bad intentions. We have to be tough. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant.”
Adding that he thinks President Barack Obama “doesn’t have a clue,” Trump went on to slam those who said he was playing right into the terrorists’ hands.
“I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to ISIS,” he said. And when Walters, 86, asked if Trump was a bigot, he replied, “Not at all. Probably the least of anybody you’ve ever met. I’m a person that has common sense. I’m a smart person. I know how to run things. I know how to make America great again.”
He is also under the impression that his fellow members of the Republican party who have stood against him on this topic are simply doing so for the press.
“I’m leading by a lot,” he said. “They get it, they’re trying to get publicity for themselves.”
This comes after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gave a press conference on Tuesday, condemning Trump’s words.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental Constitutional principle,” Paul, 45, said. “It’s a founding principle of this country. Normally, I do not comment on what’s going on in the presidential election. I will take an exception today. This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”
And Ryan’s not the only one appalled by Trump’s proposal. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday, “What he said is disqualifying. And any Republican who’s too fearful of the Republican base to admit it has no business serving as president either.”
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