Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked about his call to temporarily ban all Muslims from coming to the U.S. during a town hall on March 30 (video below).
"I think banning until we figure out what’s going on is an important thing, and I take a lot of heat for it, and a lot of people like me for it to be honest with you, but Chris there's something going on," Trump told MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
Matthews asked how banning Muslims coming to the U.S. encourages Muslims to fight ISIS.
"They have a problem too, they have a big problem," Trump replied. "I have been called by more Muslims saying what you are doing is a great thing, not a bad thing ... Believe it or not, I have a lot of friends that are Muslim, and they call me, and in most cases, they're very rich Muslims."
Matthews asked the GOP front-runner whether or not he would allow his wealthy Muslim friends into the U.S., and Trump replied, "They’ll come in, they’ll come in, and you’ll have exceptions, you’ll have exceptions."
In Dec. 2015, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims being allowed into the country until U.S. government leaders can “figure out what is going on.”
At the time, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the The Hill in an email: “Mr. Trump says, ‘everyone.’”
A new poll released on March 29 by Morning Consult shows that 50 percent of American voters support a temporary ban on all Muslims traveling to the U.S. That survey broke down to support from 71 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats.
Neither Morning Consult nor Trump explained exactly how authorities could identify given individuals as Muslims, since following Islam is a personal religious belief that can only be self-identified and not verified scientifically by a third party.
Morning Consult's survey also found that 49 percent of Americans support police patrols of Muslim neighborhoods, which was advocated by Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.