"We have to go and we have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques," Trump said in Atlanta
Trump set off a firestorm in November when he called for surveillance of mosques
Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his call for surveillance of mosques in the United States, reviving a controversial policy proposal Trump has not raised in such direct terms since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Trump’s speech here was in keeping with the billionaire’s reaction to the terrorist attack in Orlando in the days since a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning.
Trump again leveled biting criticism of President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and he doubled down on his controversial proposals to indefinitely ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and launch surveillance operations on U.S. mosques – which Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized as against American values of plurality and freedom of religion.
“We have to go and we have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques. And we have to check other places. Because this is a problem that if we don’t solve it, it’s going to eat our country alive, OK? It’s going to eat our country alive,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters that nodded and cheered as he ticked down the list of problems afflicting the country.
Trump set off a firestorm in November when he called for surveillance of mosques and even floated the idea of compiling a national database of Muslims living in the U.S. He also hinted at the policy Monday on Fox News when he said “we have to be very strong in terms of looking at the mosques.”
But the call for surveillance was just one of several instances Wednesday during which Trump cast a wide net around Muslims in discussing terrorism.
Trump also sounded the alarm on U.S.-born children of Muslim immigrants and warned of the “horrendous” results of Syrian refugees flowing into Europe.
“They come into our country, they want to take it over,” Trump said without naming “them,” before lamenting the state of affairs in Germany, which has accepted the highest number of Syrian asylum-seekers in Europe.
“Their crime rate is through the roof, things are happening that are horrendous,” Trump said.
It was unclear if Trump was blaming the “horrendous” state on the flow of Syrian refugees or the broader Muslim migration in Europe, as Trump then dove into the need for his “temporary ban” on Muslims.
And as he discussed the Orlando massacre, Trump pointed out that although the killer was American-born, “his parents weren’t and his ideas weren’t born here.”
Trump has previously been even more clear about his views on Muslims and said in March that he believes “Islam hates us.”
Amid his heated rhetoric and proposals targeting Muslims, Trump predicted Orlando would not be the last terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
“I hate to say it again, but it’s going to happen again and again and again because we’re not doing what we have to be doing. It’s going to happen again and again and again,” Trump said.