Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came under fire late on Monday after calling for the United States to ban all Muslims from traveling into the United States.
Donald J. Trump called on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on” after the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., an extraordinary escalation of rhetoric aimed at voters’ fears about members of the Islamic faith.
In response to Donald Trump’s comments Margaret Huang, Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued a statement saying that such hate-filled rhetoric must be rejected.
“Trump’s proposal caters to the worst instincts of ethnic and religious prejudice – the kind that marked the worst chapters of US history, including Japanese internment. All political figures should reject the scapegoating and fear-mongering at play here. Bigotry should not masquerade as a counter-terrorism measure,” the statement said.
“The recent surge in anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric by candidates has nothing to do with making Americans safer. It’s about winning support by scaring the public. Donald Trump’s bigoted scapegoating of Muslims flies in the face of equality and religious freedom,” Amnesty added.
Donald J. Trump’s call also drew swift condemnation from his Republican rivals for the nomination, raising the question of whether the billionaire businessman has finally gone too far, the New York Times reported.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has taken a hard line against immigration of Syrian refugees, said in an interview on Michael Medved’s radio show that the proposal was more evidence that Mr. Trump should not be president.
“Again, this is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about,” Mr. Christie said.
Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who has been hammered as “low energy” by Mr. Trump for months, said that his rival had finally lost it.
“Donald Trump is unhinged. His “policy” proposals are not serious,” Jeb Bush said in a statement on Twitter.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said Mr. Trump’s idea should disqualify him from the presidency. “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,” Mr. Kasich said in a statement.
Many of Mr. Trump’s more provocative policy proposals have gone unchecked by his rivals and in some cases they have gravitated towards his position. Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a hawkish foreign policy wonk, challenged his opponents to make clear that they stood together against Mr. Trump.
However, some were more careful in their denouncements. Senator Ted Cruz, who has overtaken Mr. Trump in Iowa and has been gaining on him nationally, said: “Well, that, that is not my policy.” The Republican from Texas went on to explain that he has called for a moratorium on refugees from countries where the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or al Qaeda control significant territory.
Carly Fiorina said that the remarks proved that Mr. Trump was just as dangerous as President Obama, but for different reasons. “Unfortunately I think Donald Trump’s over-reaction is just as dangerous as Obama’s under-reaction,” Mrs. Fiorina said.
Ben Carson’s campaign also came out against Mr. Trump and said that the retired neurosurgeon, who has said a Muslim should not be president, did not back a religious test for entering the country.
“Everyone visiting our country should register and be monitored during their stay as is done in many countries,” Doug Watts, a spokesman for Mr. Carson, said. “We do not and would not advocate being selective on one’s religion.”
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has been one of the harshest critics of Mr. Trump, but on Monday his campaign quietly distanced himself from him.
“Senator Rand Paul has led on the issue of border security, proposing real solutions,” said Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Mr. Paul. “That’s why earlier this month he introduced legislation to block visitors and immigrants from nations with known radical elements while a new system is developed to screen properly.”
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also released a statement denouncing Mr. Trump on Monday night. “I disagree with Donald Trump’s latest proposal,” he said. “His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.”
Republicans were not the only ones who criticized Mr. Trump.
Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland who is seeking the Democratic nomination, said the notion of banning Muslims was more evidence that he is a fascist.
Senator Bernie Sanders unloaded on Mr. Trump in a storm of tweets, calling him a xenophobic demagogue who was trying to make America hate Muslims.
And Hillary Clinton said that Mr. Trump’s policy on Muslims would only serve to make America less safe.