White House says remarks ‘disqualifying’, amid calls for fellow candidates to refuse support for Trump
A plan by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. contradicts his party's ideals, the top House Republican said Tuesday.
In rare comments regarding the ongoing presidential race, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump’s plan “is not conservatism”.
“What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for,” he told reporters. “And more importantly, it's not what this country stands for. 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.”
Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. on Monday evening following mass shootings outside of Los Angeles that killed 14 victims. Law enforcement officials are investigating the case as terrorism.
In response to the real estate tycoon's proposal, the Council on American Islamic Relations, which bills itself as the largest Muslim civil rights group, said the plan is “outrageous”.
“It is reckless and simply un-American,” said national executive director Nihad Awad. “Donald Trump sounds more like the leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours.”
Several Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination alongside Trump also distanced themselves from his plan, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush calling his fellow candidate "unhinged".
But the White House said Trump’s plan is “disqualifying”, and urged Republican hopefuls to withhold their support should Trump get his party’s nomination.
“What he said is disqualifying and any Republican who's too fearful of the Republican base to admit it has no business serving as president either,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. “What we need to see is a definitive statement from every candidate for the presidency about whether or not Mr. Trump is somebody that they could vote for.”
"If they are so cowed by Mr. Trump and his supporters that they're not willing to stand by the values enshrined in the Constitution, then they have no business serving as President of the United States themselves," he added.