MT. PLEASANT, SC - DECEMBER 7: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.)  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at a Pearl Harbor Day Rally at the U.S.S. Yorktown December 7, 2015 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The South Carolina Republican primary is scheduled for February 20, 2016. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Donald Trump defends Muslim ban proposal
01:09 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The GOP front-runner said people living in the U.S. want to destroy the country

Trump's comments about temporarily banning Muslim immigration to America set off a storm of criticism

CNN  — 

Donald Trump warned Tuesday that there will be additional terror attacks in the U.S. if his temporary ban on Muslim immigration is not put in place.

“You’re going to have many more World Trade Centers if you don’t solve it – many, many more and probably beyond the World Trade Center,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in a contentious interview on “New Day.”

A defiant Trump said he believes that there are already terrorists in America eager to harm the country.

“They want our buildings to come down; they want our cities to be crushed,” he said, noting that the Trade Centers were attacked twice and citing last week’s shootings in San Bernardino. “They are living within our country. And many of them want to come from outside our country.”

Cuomo repeatedly pushed back against Trump’s plan as not what America stands for and the host noted that most of the developer’s Republican rivals have criticized it.

Trump said he didn’t care what the GOP thinks about his call to pause Muslim immigration.

“We can close our eyes,” Trump said. “We can put the blinders on, but I don’t choose to do that.”

While Trump repeatedly said his plan would be “temporary,” he did not explain how long it would last or provide any details about it would work.

“It’s until the country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on,” he said.

Trump said his policy preventing Muslims from coming to the U.S. is a “common sense” approach to preventing a Paris-like attack on the U.S.

“I have common sense. I know what has to be done, and we don’t want to have a situation like Paris. And we don’t want to have another World Trade Center,” he said.

“We don’t want that. We need intelligence in this country. We need a certain toughness in this country or we’re going to end up like a lot of the other places and we’re not going to have a country left.”

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The businessman also criticized President Barack Obama for refusing to acknowledge that America is “at war with radical Islamic terrorism.”

“We have a President that made a fool out of himself the other night,” Trump said, referring to Obama’s Sunday night address to the nation from the Oval Office. “He doesn’t even mention the term. He refuses to use the term. Nobody understands why.”

“If you’re not going to even use the term, you’re never going to solve the problems,” he added.

Trump further claimed that Obama administration has been welcoming only Muslim refugees from Syria, not Christians – which Cuomo told him was untrue.

“If you happen to be a Christian in Syria, it’s almost impossible to come into this country,” Trump said. “If you’re a Muslim, you can get in.”

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