Today, Donald Trump advocated a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” The proposal has its roots in the radical fringe of anti-Muslim activists in America. Trump’s campaign made clear it would apply to tourists, refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants — and even Muslim-Americans who are currently abroad.
But other candidates reactions were much more muted. Rand Paul’s response to Trump’s comments does not condemn Trump’s proposal or even mention it. Instead, he touted his own plan to keep Muslims out of America.
Asked Rand Paul's campaign for a response to Trump's proposal. This is all they had to say: pic.twitter.com/wHRVrHgolg
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) December 7, 2015
Ted Cruz clarified that Trump’s proposal was “not mine” but offered no direct criticism of Trump. Like Paul, he countered with his own proposal to block Muslims from entering the country.
Here's Ted Cruz's full response in South Carolina to Donald Trump's remarks about Muslims. pic.twitter.com/SJznNoQZP2
— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) December 7, 2015
Lindsay Graham specifically called on Cruz to denounce Trump’s “xenophobia.”
Lindsey Graham: “It is time for Ted Cruz to quit hiding in the weeds and speak out against Donald Trump’s xenophobia https://t.co/E9jGVteG1z
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) December 8, 2015
Graham may not want to hold his breath. Cruz has praised Frank Gaffney, the radical anti-Muslim activist who originated Trump’s plan, as “an incredible voice for strength and principle.”
Ben Carson declined to target Muslims, but responded to Trump’s suggestion by offering his plan to make all visitors “register and be monitored” when they come to the United States.
Trump, Cruz, Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum are all scheduled to participate in Gaffney’s “National Security Action Summit” next week in Las Vegas.