Donald Trump on Friday pushed back against the characterization that he is for a government registry to track Muslims who live in the United States.
I didn’t suggest a database-a reporter did. We must defeat Islamic terrorism & have surveillance, including a watch list, to protect America
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2015
Earlier this week, a reporter who interviewed Trump asked him what he thought about a hypothetical Muslim database. Trump didn’t explicitly comment on the idea or rule it out.
“We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump told Hunter Walker of Yahoo News. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
Later Thursday, a NBC reporter in Iowa, following up on the Yahoo News story, asked Trump if “there should be a database system that tracks Muslims here in this country.”
“There should be a lot of systems beyond databases,” Trump replied. “We should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it.”
Trump, asked how he would get Muslims registered into a database, said: “It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures.”
Asked if the government would go to mosques to sign people up, Trump said: “Different places. You sign them up at different [places]. But it’s all about management. Our country has no management.”
Trump’s rivals, in both the Republican and Democratic parties, are now hitting him over the issue.
Appearing on CNBC on Friday morning, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took a swing: “You’re talking about closing mosques, you’re talking about registering people, and that’s just wrong, I don’t care about campaigns.”
“It’s not a question of toughness,” Bush added. “It’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears; that’s not strength, that’s weakness.”
“This is shocking rhetoric,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter. “It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country.”
“This is an outrageous and bigoted statement,” Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday. “Mr. Trump should be ashamed of himself. We will not destroy ISIS by undermining the Constitution and our religious freedoms.”
The Daily Caller has reached out to Trump’s campaign to clarify his position on the issue.