Republican Party leaders and other prominent conservatives on Monday blasted Donald Trump’s plan to enact a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” distancing themselves and the party from the frontrunner and his hateful rhetoric.
Trump elaborated on his proposal in South Carolina Monday evening, calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration, tourism, and even on Muslim Americans living abroad returning home. He also suggested he would try to shut down parts of the Internet to censor radical speech and reiterated the need for a database.
Matt Moore, the South Carolina GOP chair, took to Twitter to criticize the candidate as he spoke in Moore’s state:
The party’s New Hampshire chair made similar comments:
NH GOP chair on Trump: "There are some issues that transcend politics…it is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American"
— Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) December 8, 2015
The Republican National Committee also announced that it would no longer be hosting Trump for a fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday. Politico reported in October that Trump was planning to attend the Dec. 9 fundraiser in order to improve his relationship with party leaders.
BREAKING: RNC confirms Trump WILL NOT be attending scheduled fundraiser in NYC on Wednesday
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 8, 2015
Even former Vice President Dick Cheney, who oversaw efforts after 9/11 to register Muslim men of a certain age and nationality, condemned Trump’s plan on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “I think this whole notion that somehow we can say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in,” he said.
Most of Trump’s competitors also generally rejected his idea, with a couple notable exceptions. But other candidates have endorsed similar plans to violate Muslims’ basic rights. Ben Carson recently called for the monitoring of mosques and other groups the government deemed “anti-American.” He has also said Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) advised that the intelligence community’s resources should be focused on racial profiling and surveilling “people who speak Arabic.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called Trump a “net positive” for the party back in August. “I think we are showing America that we are the young, diverse party, offering a whole slew of options for people and that’s a good thing.”