Republicans are not pleased with GOP presidential candidate and frontrunner Donald Trump‘s latest insulting plans, banning all Muslims from entering the United States. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI broke with Trump on his position on Muslims on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 in a closed door meeting with House GOP caucus members. Ryan’s comments were met according to the Hill with “applause.” Ryan also publicly repeated his comments in a house GOP leadership press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. Later in the day at the daily press briefing White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, condemned Trump’s proposal saying it disqualified him from becoming president. Ryan is the highest-ranking Republican official to denounce publicly Trump’s plans, but Trump has been seeing all the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates, the White House and even former Vice President Dick Cheney condemning his highly controversial and unconstitutional proposal.
Speaking at the press conference Ryan pointed out the Trump’s plan clearly violated to two Constitutional amendments; “the First Amendment, protecting the freedom of religion, and the 14th, forbidding guaranteeing due process of law and citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized” in the U.S.” Ryan was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee. The speaker expressed, “Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle; it is 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.” Ryan clearly denounced Trump’s plan as break from what Republicans and conservatives actually stand for. Ryan said, “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.”
As President Barack Obama did in his oval office address on Sunday evening, Dec. 6, Ryan reminded the country that we are not at war with Muslims, but only radical terrorismand that there are Muslims were are patriotic and good citizens. Speaker Ryan stated, “Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House working every day to uphold and to defend the Constitution.” The speaker continuing clarified, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims — the vast, vast, vast majority of whom are peaceful, who believe in pluralism, freedom, democracy, individual rights.”
Trump is running away at the polls with support for the primaries, with many concerned or pleased he may become the nominee. When Ryan was asked if he would support Trump if he becomes the nominee, Ryan was clear he would support the nominee, but not all their positions. The Speaker made clear, “I’m going to support whomever the Republican nominee is, and I’m going to stand up for what I believe as I do that.”
Trump originally suggested his ban on allowing Muslims into the country on Monday, Dec. 7. Trump’s campaign initially issued a statement about his position, saying, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Continuing the campaign justified the reason for the position, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Trump later repeated his plan at a rally at USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Trump further explained, “This is pretty heavy stuff. And it’s common sense, and we have to do it. These are people who are here, by the way. These are people who only believe in jihad. They have no respect for human life.” The GOP frontrunner received a standing ovation for his remarks.
Trump also expressed, “we have no idea if they love us or hate us. We’re out of control; we have no idea who is coming into our country. I want ISIS to surrender.” The GOP frontrunner also criticized President Barack Obama’s oval office address to the nation outlining his plan to combat ISIS. Trump said President Obama “didn’t know why he was there. He refuses to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ He refuses to use the term. I don’t even know if he knows what the hell is going on.”
Despite the backlash, Trump faced from both parties he refuses to back down on his proposal. Trump spoke ABC‘s George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America Tuesday morning, where he further commented, “Something has to be done. What I’m doing is calling very simply for Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Trump explained the ban would be “a temporary measure,” but necessary because “We have people who want to blow up our buildings, our cities.”
Trump’s proposal comes less than a week after the terrorist inspired attack on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California. In that attack at the Inland Regional Center, 14 people were killed and 17 injured. The two attackers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had radicalized, including one pledging allegiance to ISIS, the terrorist organization. The FBI is now investigating the incident as a terrorist motivated attack.
Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to attack Trump:
The White House stressed their condemnation in the strongest terms.
Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes speaking on CNN called the plan “totally contrary to our values as Americans” and pointed to the Bill of Rights’ protection of freedom of religion and pointing to the “extraordinary contributions”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing, “The fact is what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president.” Earnest also said that all the GOP candidates are to blame because they signed a pledge to support the GOP nominee and Trump is the frontrunner. Earnest said; “For Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Trump, that in and of itself is disqualifying. The question now is about the rest of the Republican Party and whether or not they’re going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him. And right now the current trajectory is not very good.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in an interview on MSNBC, “We’re now in a phase, through the use of social media, internet, groups such as ISIL hope to inspire somebody in our homeland to commit a terrorist attack, which has made our efforts to build bridges to Muslim communities all the more important. That’s what we’ve been doing. We encounter suspicion every once in a while. But we also encounter a lot of hope, willingness to work with us. It requires that we build trust.”
Secretary of State John Kerry responded from Paris, saying; “As I travel around the world it is clear to me and how both our friends and our adversaries watch and listen to the discourse in the U.S. and I believe that comments such as those that we just heard are not constructive and I would say that is putting it diplomatically.”
Practically all the GOP candidates quickly denounced the frontrunner’s proposal.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted, “Donald Trump is unhinged. His “policy” proposals are not serious.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued a statement, “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.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie commented in a radio interview, “This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they are talking about. We do not need to resort to that type of activity nor should we.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on Monday, “For interpreters and others risking their lives abroad to help America — this is a death sentence.” On Tuesday, Graham was more blunt , saying “You know how to make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stated, “?That is not my policy. I have introduced legislation in the Senate that would put in place a three year moratorium on refugees coming from countries where ISIS or al Qaeda control a substantial amount of territory.” At a Tuesday news conference Cruz also said, “I do not agree with his proposal. I do not think it is the right solution.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio responded in a statement: “(Trump’s) habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together. The next president better be somebody who can unite our country to face the great challenges of the 21st Century.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson expressed; “Everyone visiting our country should register and be monitored during their stay as is done in many countries. I do not and would not advocate being selective on one’s religion.”
Former HP Carly Fiorina told the press in Iowa; “President Obama isn’t prepared to do anything, which is clearly foolish, but Donald Trump always plays on everyone’s worst instincts and fears. And saying we’re not going to let a single Muslim into this country is a dangerous overreaction.”
Speaking on Fox News Tuesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul expressed, “While Donald Trump is wrong on a religious test, he is right that we do need to defend ourselves. It’s a mistake to have open borders.” Paul’s campaign response on Monday seemed to agree with Trump, an unpopular position Paul corrected on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney even denounced the plan in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt; “This whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.”
All three Republican Party chairs in the important primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina denounced Trump’s proposal. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus also denounced him in the Washington Examiner, saying, “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.”
Democratic candidates were even more appalled:
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore tweeted, “Trump’s fascist talk drives all minorities from GOP.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tweeted; “@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue,” tweeted Democratic presidential candidate.”
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton tweeted, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. @RealDonaldTrump, you don’t get it. This makes us less safe. -H”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement; “Demagogues throughout our history have attempted to divide us based on race, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin. Now, Trump and others want us to hate all Muslims. The United States is a great nation when we stand together. We are a weak nation when we allow racism and xenophobia to divide us.”
Trump has taken of a very anti-immigrant approach in his campaign, but since the Paris terror attacks in November that anti-immigrant position turned to an anti-Muslim position. Trump has offended many in his nearly six-month campaign, women, other Republicans, the news media the list is almost endless as he insults his way higher in polls. Comments that would have ended another candidate’s campaign only strengthen Trump’s, however, his recent comments on Muslims are beginning to go overboard, reminding American voters Democrats and Republicans alike of extremists in history.
Trump is now being compared to Adolf Hitler for his anti-Muslim rhetoric; however, a more accurate comparison may be George Wallace. Wallace was the former Democratic governor of Alabama having served two non-consecutive and two consecutive terms in three different decades, the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Wallace was also a presidential candidate running for the Democratic nomination in 1964, 1972 and 1976, and he ran as an independent under the American Independent Party banner in 1968. During the 1972 campaign, there was an assassination attempt on his life that left him paralyzed.
Wallace was known mostly as being a fierce segregationist and populist “pandering to the white majority.” Wallace in his first inaugural address said, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Wallace famously stood in front of the University of Alabama to prevent it from integrating. In the 1968 election, Wallace won five Southern states, 46 electoral votes and nearly ten million popular votes, becoming the last major third party spoiler to win any states and electoral votes.
Salon just published an article on Tuesday morning, “Donald Trump is the second coming of George Wallace” comparing the two. Trump is gaining his popularity and support from spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric that pleases his core white constituency, a modern 21st century approach to Wallace. Historian Dan Carter noted, “George Wallace laid the foundation for the dominance of the Republican Party in American society through the manipulation of racial and social issues in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the master teacher, and Richard Nixon and the Republican leadership that followed were his students.” Trump is one of his students mastering Wallace’s style nearly 48 years later.
Trump is an anti-establishment egoist, playing to a group of the anti-immigrant, gun loving ultra conservative white low to middle class Americans, the Tea Party crowd on speed. Trump ever the entertainer knows how to reel in and keep an audience he has been building on that for decades. If history does repeat, the Republican establishment will alter the course of the primary with an acceptable and universally appealing candidate as the party’s nominee. Just as Wallace did in 1968 American voters should expect Trump to keep his word about not ruling out a presidential run as an independent. A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll released Tuesday showed 68 percent of Trump’s supporters would back his third party run. Politico predicted an “egomaniac” like Trump has “only one possible victory-the role of spoiler.”
Only the Democrats and frontrunner Hillary Clinton can benefit from Trump splintering the Republican Party, while the GOP has only themselves to blame not reigning in an orthodox and electable candidate from the start. When Trump does run as an independent Republicans as they have already started will regret 2012 candidate Mitt Romney not running or their concerns about a dynasty with Jeb Bush. The 2016 presidential election was the GOP’s to lose and Trump will be the one to have lost the White House and handed it over to the Clintons for them.