NEWTON: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has voiced support for creating a mandatory database to track Muslims in the United States — the latest in an escalating series of responses following the deadly attacks in Paris.
"I would certainly implement that. Absolutely," Trump told an NBC News reporter between campaign events Thursday in Newton, Iowa, according to video posted on MSNBC.com.
He said Muslims would be signed up at "different places," adding, "It's all about management."
Asked whether registering would be mandatory, Trump responded, "They have to be."
The latest comments come less than a week after the deadly attacks on a concert hall, sports stadium and restaurants in Paris that have elevated fears of attacks in in the US and prompted calls for new restrictions on Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.
Clinton, Republicans blast Trump's remarks
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Friday condemned Donald Trump's comments that Muslims in America should be registered in a data base. Clinton took issue with his Thursday night remarks, which appeared to draw comparisons with Nazi Germany. “This is shocking rhetoric. It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country,” Clinton wrote on Twitter.
Fellow Republican and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Trump's proposal “abhorrent.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Trump was trying to “divide people.” And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has largely avoided criticizing Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, said that while he was a fan of the billionaire businessman, “I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens.”
The unified pushback against Trump was rare.
Republicans have vacillated in their handling of other inflammatory comments from the bellicose real estate mogul, wary of alienating the front-runner's supporters but also increasingly concerned that he's managed to maintain his grip on the Republican race deep with the first primary votes less than three months away.
While some of his rivals have been chastised by President Barack Obama for suggesting that Christian Syrian refugees be given preference over Muslims, Trump has gone further in his rhetoric, advocating new restrictions on civil liberties and enhanced surveillance activities, including inside mosques.
Trump said earlier this week that the country was "going to have no choice" but to close certain mosques because "really bad things are happening, and they're happening fast."
The first reference to the database idea came in an interview with Yahoo News published earlier Thursday in which the billionaire real estate mogul did not reject the idea of requiring Muslims to register in a database or giving them special identification cards noting their religion.
"We're going to have to look at a lot of things very closely," Trump told Yahoo News.
He also suggested he would consider warrant-less searches, according to Yahoo, saying, "We're going to have to do things that we never did before."
Asked by reporters Thursday night to explain his Yahoo comments, Trump suggested his response had been misconstrued. "I never responded to that question," he said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Thursday condemning Trump for what the group described as "Islamophobic and unconstitutional" comments targeting American Muslims and Syrian refugees.
They also criticized Trump rival Ben Carson, who on Thursday 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 told reporters at a campaign stops in Alabama. "It doesn't mean you hate all dogs, but you're putting your intellect into motion."
"By mainstreaming Islamophobic and unconstitutional policies, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are contributing to an already toxic environment that may be difficult to correct once their political ambitions have been satisfied," CAIR's Robert McCaw said in a statement.
Trump was in Iowa Thursday for a televised question-and-answer session hosted by WHO-TV at the Des Moines Area Community College. At a rally after answering questions, Trump took a few shots at his fellow candidates. He said Carson's campaign was in "freefall" and said Sen. Marco Rubio "never shows up to vote because he's campaigning."
Also Thursday evening, New Day for America, a super PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich, announced plans to launch a $2.5 million ad campaign targeting Trump.
"There's a growing consensus that someone has to do something to stop Donald Trump," said Matt David, a spokesman for the group, who said the campaign would include television, radio, mail and digital ads in New Hampshire.
Trump responded to the news, which was first reported by Politico, by unloading a dozen rapid-fire tweets mocking Kasich's polling and debate performances and threatened to "sue him just for fun!" if the ads aren't truthful.
Kasich responded with his own flurry of tweets aimed at Trump.
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