Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he would be in favor of a national database to track Muslims in the United States.
“There should be a lot of systems, I mean beyond databases,” Trump says in a video on NBC News, answering a question about whether there should be a “database system” to track Muslims.
“We should have a lot of systems,” he adds. “And today you can do it. But right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall.”
When asked if “that’s something your White House would like to implement,” he responds, “I would certainly implement that, absolutely.”
The remarks came Nov. 19, in Newton, Iowa, according to a separate NBC story.
That’s the same day Yahoo News published excerpts from an interview in which Trump said that in order to fight terrorism the United States was “going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
He told Yahoo he would be in favor of deporting Syrian refugees, allowed into the country during President Barack Obama’s tenure.
“They’re going to be gone,” he said. “They will go back. … I’ve said it before, in fact, and everyone hears what I say, including them, believe it or not. But if they’re here, they have to go back, because we cannot take a chance. You look at the migration, it’s young, strong men. We cannot take a chance that the people coming over here are going to be ISIS-affiliated.”
Some of Trump’s opponents were quick to pounce his support of a supposed database.
The morning of Nov. 20, Trump rival Jeb Bush denounced the idea, according to NBC.
“You talk about internment, you talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people. That's just wrong. I don't care about campaigns,” Bush reportedly said during a CNBC appearance. "It's not a question of toughness. It's to manipulate people's angst and their fears. That's not strength, that's weakness.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also chimed in via Twitter.
“This is shocking rhetoric,” she said. “It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country.”
Robert McCaw, the government affairs manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Trump’s recent comments were troubling.
“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,” McCaw said. “Such extremist rhetoric is unbecoming of anyone who seeks our nation’s highest office and must be strongly repudiated by leaders from across the political spectrum.”
McCaw was also referring to comments, made by Carson during a Nov. 19 campaign stop in Mobile, Alabama, while discussing the need to vet Syrian refugees.
“If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you’re probably going to put your children out of the way,” Carson said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But, you’re putting your intellect into motion and you’re thinking, how do I protect my children?”
“By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly,” he added. “Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening.”