GOP Candidates Unrelenting in Their Attacks on Trump’s Muslim Proposal

PHOTO: Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump and Lindsey GrahamGetty Images
Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham

Republican presidential candidates continue to denounce Donald Trump's plans for banning Muslims from entering the U.S., calling his proposal “a violation of our Constitution,” “wrong” and “impossible to enforce."

After a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, GOP candidate Carly Fiorina suggested that Trump’s idea was a reaction to a poll released Monday by Monmouth University showing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of Trump in Iowa.

“I think Donald Trump’s comments this morning have as much to do with Ted Cruz doing well in the last week as anything else,” Fiorina told ABC News. “Donald Trump needed the spotlight back, so this is what he said and everybody’s paying attention.”

A CNN poll released later in the day, however, showed Trump leading in the state.

Fiorina predicted that Trump will not be the Republican nominee and said she can’t believe “we’re actually seriously having a conversation in the media about internment camps.”

Jeb Bush condemned Trump's policy and referred to Trump as a "blowhard" at an event today in New Hampshire.

"What we shouldn't do is to just say that all Muslims aren't coming into our country. You got to find the proper balance of believing in American values and being serious and real about keeping us safe," he said. "It's not about the blowhards out there just saying stuff. That's not a program. That's not a plan. This is serious business."

Bush also called Trump "unhinged" on Twitter yesterday after Trump announced his policy.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was even more blunt.

“You know how to make America great again?” Graham said in an interview on CNN Tuesday morning. “Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”

Graham said he doesn’t think Trump “had a clue about anything he’s doing. He’s just trying to get his numbers up and get the biggest reaction he can. He is helping the enemy of this nation. He is empowering radical Islam. And if he knew anything about the world at all, you would know that most Muslims reject this ideology."

Other candidates were less strident in their criticism.

“I do not agree with his proposal,” Cruz said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “I do not think it is the right solution.”

But the Texas senator added, “Certainly in the media there has been no shortage of criticism for Donald Trump and I do not believe the world needs my voice added to that chorus of critics.”

In an interview on Fox News, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he disagreed with Trump’s plan and argued that his own proposal to ban people from 34 countries from coming to the United States is different because it’s not based on religion.

"While Donald Trump is wrong on a religious test, he is right that we do need to defend ourselves,” Paul said. “It’s a mistake to have open borders.”

Paul said his plan was “built on a risk assessment” for countries with a “high risk of terrorism.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called for an “all-in, effective way to screen foreigners and keep Americans safe,” but took issue with Trump’s proposal.

"If you’re willing to strap a bomb to the belly of your child to kill Americans, then you’re willing to lie about your religion,” Huckabee said in a statement. “A ban on Muslims is impossible to enforce because Islamic terrorists will tell whatever lie they can to enter this country to kill more Americans. And it’s simply unconstitutional to ban people on the basis of religion.”

Ali Weinberg, Candace Smith and Ben Gittleson contributed reporting.

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