Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson Rips GOP Campaign Rhetoric as Dangerous and 'Overly Simplistic'

Jeh Johnson called the language “counter to our national security interest."

And late last year, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”

But at today’s symposium, sponsored by the International Peace and Security Institute, Johnson said, “contrary to some of the political rhetoric” and “contrary to some of the overly simplistic rhetoric,” there is “no one neighborhood or ghetto or city that one could circle … to surveil American Muslims.”

President Obama recently echoed that sentiment, calling some of the Republican campaign language “un-American” and “counterproductive.”

“The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of American Muslims, including those who serve in our United States military … are patriotic, dedicated people who love this country and want to help us with public safety and secure our homeland, because they know it’s their homeland too,” Johnson said today. “Efforts to vilify and isolate American Muslims are counter to our homeland security interest and counter to our national security interest, given the nature of the global terrorist threat.”

But Johnson acknowledged that U.S. authorities must focus their efforts in stopping the terrorist threat. And while law enforcement is not targeting a religion or a specific group, he said, there are “several caveats to that.”“The Islamic State, which is the most visible and most prominent and probably the most dangerous terrorist organization that we face right now, is targeting American Muslims,” Johnson said. “So we must respond in countering that effort as a matter of homeland security, which is why when I talk about building bridges to communities, most often I am in fact talking about building bridges to American Muslim communities – because that is who the Islamic State is targeting.”

More than half of the undocumented population has been in the United States more than 10 years, and, “No administration is going to deport them because [we] don’t have the resources to do that,” Johnson said at the time.

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