Rival candidates and party leaders quick to brand the frontrunner as ‘un-American’ amid accusations of ‘fascism’ as some see reckoning on the horizon.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was disowned by his own party’s top leadership on Tuesday and faced calls to drop his White House bid as the world reacted with outrage to his plan for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The billionaire frontrunner’s plan tipped the Republican presidential race into chaos, with party leaders from the chairman of the Republican National Committee to former US vice-president Dick Cheney condemning the idea as “un-American”.
Trump toured the US television studios in unrepentant form, unmoved by the gale of criticism that followed his speech aboard an aircraft carrier on Monday evening. Speaking aboard the USS Yorktown, he acknowledged that his proposal was “probably not politically correct”, before whipping up a cheering crowd and adding: “But. I. Don’t. Care.”
“We need a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on,” Trump said. “We are out of control.”
But for perhaps the first time of the election cycle, Trump seemed at risk of being drowned out by voices raised on all sides in protest against him.
“He’s trampling on our constitution and packaging it as a snake oil cure for our security concerns,” said Kassem Allie, executive administrator of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, one of the largest mosques in the US. “He’s using fear-mongering reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalin.”
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump participated in an unusual media interview on Wednesday: “The Alex Jones Show.”
Alex Jones is a radio host famous for promoting conspiracy theories, including that the September 11, 2001, terror attacks were an “inside job.”
In his very first question to Trump, Jones asked about the attacks.
Jones declared that Trump has been repeatedly “vindicated” in his widely disputed claim that thousands Muslims in New Jersey celebrated as the World Trade Center buildings fell.
“I knew it happened and I held my line. People wanted me to apologize, and we can’t do that. People like you and me can’t do that so easily,” Trump told Jones from his Trump Tower office in New York.
Jones’ show is an atypical place for a front-running presidential candidate to appear. There was an advertisement between interview segments that touted a “Brain Force” supplement that supposedly fights back against “toxic weapons in the food and water supply.”
Unsurprisingly, Jones had some atypical questions for Trump, including how the Chinese government was able to amass such a large supply of rare-earth minerals.
“How did we just give them the global market in that?” Jones said of the minerals. “That’s crazy.”
Trump responded by lamenting that China is buying all of the minerals from Afghanistan.
“We go into Afghanistan. We’re fighting — you know, tremendous mountains and ridges — we’re fighting on one side. And you know who’s got their excavators on the other side? China, taking out all of the materials. Afghanistan — nobody knew this — Afghanistan is rich with minerals.”
Trump added that China was also ripping off the US in oil.
“China is taking out the minerals,” he said. “They’re the buyers, the big buyers, at very, very low prices of — as you know — of the oil in Iraq and probably in Syria.”
Later in the 30-minute interview, Jones asked, “Is it not time for impeachment proceedings against Obama?”
“The best thing that we have going with Obama is he’s got a year left, OK? Because by the time you do the hearings and everything,” Trump replied.
“So don’t make him a martyr?” Jones interjected.
“In a way you’ll make him a martyr. But I don’t even say that,” Trump said, launching into a spiel against Republicans who go to Washington but never fulfill their campaign promises. “There’s so many things to do, Alex,” he added. “We will do such a good job. There’s so many fronts.”