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Trump’s Anti-Muslim Proposal Puts GOP In A Bind

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Trump’s Anti-Muslim Proposal Puts GOP In A Bind

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By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

WASHINGTON—Donald Trump may be an imperfect candidate — he is coarse, impetuous, antagonistic — but he presents the Republican Party with a perfect dilemma.

For the second straight day, the world of politics was consumed with Trump’s latest provocation, a call for a near-blanket ban on Muslims entering the United States, underscoring the billionaire’s continued sway over his adopted party, its presidential candidates and the GOP agenda.

Many Republican were quick to denounce the proposal though, notably, not its progenitor, fearing a backlash should Trump become the party’s eventual nominee. He, is after all, the leader in opinion polls and a favorite of many voters disgusted with more guarded, standard-issue politicians.

“This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday … is not what this party stands for,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with GOP House members on Capitol Hill. “And more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”

Other members of the Republican establishment weighed in with criticism as well, including party leaders in three of the earliest-voting states, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa.

“As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump’s bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine,” Matt Moore, head of the South Carolina Republican Party, wrote on Twitter.

Jennifer Horn, leader of the New Hampshire GOP, called Trump’s proposal “un-American” and “un-Republican.”

But the condemnations went only so far, as Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans vowed to support Trump, whatever their qualms, should he emerge as the GOP’s standard-bearer.

Even Jeb Bush, who called Trump “unhinged” for proposing a religious test on newcomers as a way to fight terrorism, declined to back off an earlier pledge of support.

“Look, he’s not going to be the nominee,” the former Florida governor insisted when pressed by reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

What, then, was his message to Trump supporters? “I’d love for them to consider my candidacy,” Bush replied.

The exchange captured the quandary that the GOP and its presidential hopefuls have faced ever since Trump bulldozed his way into the race: How to distance themselves from his inflammatory statements without alienating Trump supporters, or provoking him into a ruinous third-party run should he fall short of the nomination.

“A new poll indicates that 68 percent of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent,” Trump posted on Twitter, citing a Suffolk University poll, as Tuesday’s chorus of Republican criticism grew.

The message, in characteristic Trump fashion, was as subtle as a kick in the shins.

Unabashed, he seized on the furor he created — and the wall-to-wall cable news coverage that followed — to defend his exclusionary plan and brush aside detractors.

“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 said in a CNN interview, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

On MSNBC, he said barring followers of the Islamic faith from the U.S. would be as easy as authorities asking them at entry points about their religious affiliation “They would say, ‘Are you Muslim?’” Trump explained.

He cited the precedent set during World War II when the U.S. government investigated people of German and Italian ancestry, and ordered those of Japanese descent to be locked away in internment camps.

“You certainly aren’t proposing internment camps?” asked host Joe Scarborough.

“We’re not talking about Japanese internment camp,” Trump responded. “No, not at all.”

Such distinctions aside, Democrats happily piled on the Republican front-runner and his extraordinary response to the terror attacks on Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., a counter to President Barack Obama’s call to avoid targeting all members of the Muslim faith.

Trump’s emergence comes at a critical time for the GOP, which has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

The party’s political base of older whites is aging out of the electorate and Republicans have struggled to appeal to the growing ranks of younger and minority voters, a task that grows more difficult each time Trump gives offense to one ethnic or religious group or another.

“While entertaining for some, I and many worry about the long-term damage (among) younger voters, African-American voters, Hispanic voters, working-class voters,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist and political adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “He’s managing to alienate a little bit of everybody.”

Reed, whose focus is congressional contests, expressed concern that Trump atop the presidential ticket could undermine Republicans senators facing tough races in Nevada, Ohio and New Hampshire, which could determine control of the Senate after 2016.

He is not alone.

In a private memo recently quoted in The Washington Post, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee outlined a number of strategies for candidates to follow in the event Trump — “a misguided missile” — won the party’s nomination.

“Let’s face facts,” Ward Baker, the head of the committee, wrote his senior staff. “Trump says what’s on his mind and that’s a problem. Our candidates will have to spend full time defending him if that continues. And that’s a place we never, ever want to be.”

His counsel included urging candidates to mind their campaigns and avoid attacks on Trump, lest they backfire on the GOP.

Not all, however, were given to such restraint.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a presidential hopeful who has frequently tangled with the Republican frontrunner, offered his succinct view in an interview on CNN.

“You know how you make America great again?” Graham said, appropriating his rival’s signature campaign slogan. “Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”

(Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons of the Tribune Washington Bureau and Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.)

©2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire December 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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31 Comments

  1. I of John December 10, 2015

    lovely

    Reply
  2. TZToronto December 10, 2015

    Yes, a bind it truly is. Denounce Trump and lose the support of the ultra-far-right. Don’t denounce Trump and lose the more moderate Republicans (if there are any). Deny Trump the nomination and risk an independent campaign that would drain a large part of the GOPTP base and guarantee any Democrat the Presidency. So, in order to have any chance of winning in November, 2016, the GOP must object to the hateful speech without trashing the speaker too much. The GOP needs a strong candidate, but, as Judge Ito said, “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.”

    Reply
    1. RED December 11, 2015

      I hear what you’re saying and obviously this is exactly what the Cons are trying to do. But personally, I wouldn’t give a damn about alienating the “base.” And if you lose, well so what you held your principles and a standard of decency. It’s kinda what leaders are supposed to do. It’s very informative that most have no principles or morality and instead are only loyal to attaining power.

      Reply
      1. TZToronto December 11, 2015

        Very true. I hope the GOP loses their base, that the base is so fed up with the machinations of the backroom politicians that they simply don’t go to vote, or they vote for the Trumpen-fuhrer’s 3rd-party. They’ll say anything to hold on to what they think they have, but they’ll lose it all is the nominee is “brokered.”

        Reply
  3. Dominick Vila December 10, 2015

    The dilemma for the GOP is that if they try to marginalize Trump, he will run against them as an Independent, and will hand the 2016 election to Hillary on a silver platter.
    The scary part of all this is that millions of Americans consider Trump’s bombast, bullying, immaturity, irresponsibility, and narcissism evidence of desperately needed leadership! The more bizarre his claims are, the more they like him.
    The sad truth is that he has figured out how to appeal to the most ignorant, uninformed, and prejudiced Americans, and he is playing them like a fiddle. The greed and irresponsibility of a complicit U.S. media is doing the rest.

    Reply
    1. Tex December 11, 2015

      REAL Americans, which is the majority love Trump and his ideas, which, unlike all of your choices, ain’t for sale! We could not care any less about the minority of divided Americans, like Arab-Americans and Mexican-Americans and Afro-Americans, etc — btw, anyone care to show me where Africa/America is on a world globe???) all coming here, and all is inclusive of every color there is, should aspire to assimilate to American values and culture, which is evident in Trump, but not so much your mosquito muslim pretender!

      Go TRUMP 2016

      Reply
      1. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

        Tex, you are a perfect example of the Trump Crazies.

        Reply
      2. Paul Bass December 11, 2015

        Go Man Boob! He really makes America look strong!

        Reply
    2. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

      Even in the near certain event that he will lose, he probably will be offered a position at Faux News, the better to spew his and their venom.

      Reply
  4. Otto Greif December 10, 2015

    Trump proposing things most Americans want doesn’t put him in a bind.

    Reply
    1. JPHALL December 10, 2015

      Not most Americans, just the loony right.

      Reply
    2. dtgraham December 10, 2015

      So far, it hasn’t put him in a bind with Republican primary voters. I’ll concede that much. It’s actually helped, so far.

      Reply
    3. Eleanore Whitaker December 11, 2015

      So…you decide “most Americans” has to include “ALL” Americans? Sorry…that’s too control freak for me. Please don’t speak for those of us who have had the misfortune to live with daily Trump events here in the metro region.

      It is MY NJ taxes that kept his Taj Mahal open…with the stipulation that he would hire NJ residents. He did…at salaries you would never accept. Try again bit mouth. You have no idea what Trump is really like.

      Reply
      1. yabbed December 11, 2015

        As a NYer, I concur. The good thing is that the bigoted rednecks who are cheering wildly for this man don’t have the electoral votes to elect a President. It is galling, however, to see who my hard earned tax dollars are going to support in the welfare transfer payments leaving NY.

        Reply
      2. Otto Greif December 11, 2015

        “Bit mouth”? Sad to see you resorting to insults, Elanore Whitaker.

        Reply
  5. Bosda December 11, 2015

    For the GOP, dealing with Trump like wrestling in the mud with the chipmunks for the hickory nuts.

    If you win,you win a hickory nut.

    And, if you lose, you’ve lost to a chipmunk.

    But either way, you wind up covered in dirt & dead leaves.

    Reply
  6. FireBaron December 11, 2015

    So the country was investigating people of Italian and German Ancestry in WW2? Gee! That must be news to the Italians and Germans who served in the US Army, Navy and Marines; who worked in the defense and pharmaceuticals industries; and served in our government. Of course, as most of them have succumbed to old age, we only have THE DONALD’s word that it happened. I guess that means I should ask if my Dad was investigated while he worked in a defense plant, or after he joined the infantry and fought his way from Italy up to the Ardennes, and was awarded a Silver Star!

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker December 11, 2015

      Mine too…My Dad was born in Bari Italy and worked in 2 NJ munitions plants during WWII. He was too old by then to be drafted, not that he didn’t still try.

      Trump is an asshat who opens his big mouth every single time and then stick his foot in it. Reckless, irresponsible speech and behavior is what Trump has always been about.

      Anyone who lives in the Metro area know exactly what this childish man is really like. He starts projects and when he doesn’t get what he wants, he walks…leaving taxpayers to clean up after him.

      He is also not above using the skankiest tactics to make “profits.” But, think about this…your tax dollars will pay for Trump’s alimony to several wives and child support.

      I am not in the least worried he’ll ever make it to president. The minute the vetting process has to force open Trump’s books, watch him slink away with his tail between his legs.

      Reply
      1. Tex December 11, 2015

        The draft didn’t start until 1948, founded on the Federal Selective Training and Service System signed by FDR in 1940. None of you Obozo’s know squat but you keep mixing up prevarications in all your purported facts. Eleanor aka Michael LaVaughn Robinson, aka Michelle Obama (ditzy tranny)

        Reply
        1. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

          What is it with you neo cons and your fixation on alleged transgender folk. You know your allegations about Mrs. Obama aren’t true, but that doesn’t stop you from saying them. Maybe the laws against slander might.

          Reply
        2. darkagesbegin December 12, 2015

          there have been many “drafts” in American history; the Civil Way; WWI and WWII all had “drafts” I don’t understand the your assertion that it did not start until 1948. The “modern” draft may not have started until then, but there have been drafts before then.

          Reply
    2. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

      My mother is of German ancestry, and she taught in a school during WW2. My stepdad is Dutch, and he served in the US Army, Many years later, I, only two generations removed from Germany,served in a super secret security portion of the US Army….so we all wonder about being investigated for German influences at that time.

      Reply
  7. yabbed December 11, 2015

    Republicans created this monster with their bigotry, their Christian fundamentalist radicalism, and their hate mongering. Now they have to live with the consequences. They can begin by practicing saying “Madam President”.

    Reply
    1. Tex December 11, 2015

      She will be in prison by the time the elections are done, and Donald Trump will be Prez! All the hate-filled Islamic murderers and rapists will be vetted and sent back to their killing grounds in Arabia, America will remove the filthy pig-licking muslims and their hegemony

      It is alla’s will

      Reply
      1. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

        In your disordered drams , Tex

        Reply
    2. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

      I love it.

      Reply
  8. RED December 11, 2015

    Interesting how the ignorant Cons seem to suggest they care about the future of “their party” and yet have absolutely no concern for the future of the planet, the country or the billions of people who inhabit them. Interesting but not surprising since the Con sickness causes debilitating ignorance and a self centered view of the everything.

    Reply
    1. Don Berghuis December 11, 2015

      Maybe the ACA will treat that. Could be—call it terminal ignorance.

      Reply
  9. Grammaticopedanticus December 11, 2015

    Trump speaks his mind.

    Maybe he could lose it, and someone finding it, it could end up in a Goodwill store, refurbished by the handicapped.

    Reply
  10. FT66 December 11, 2015

    Firstly, am not a Trump supporter and never will be. But, folks, you don’t get it right. Trump was reacting to what happened in California. He didn’t say we ban muslims forever to come to US. He said there must be a halt first and we find out how to deal with the problem so to avoid what happened in California doesn’t happen again. Whats wrong with that? Now tell me, god forbid if three or more mass killing happen again as it did in California, wouldn’t all say, Trump was right and ask ourselves why didn’t we follow his proposal? Preventing losing lives is better than regretting afterwards and tell ourselves why we didn’t do this and that or rather take right precautions.

    Reply
  11. Sanity Please December 11, 2015

    These Tea party extremists and those who support Trump hate the United States.They hate its leader, its Constitution, half the people who live here,and those with whom they disagree. They are the barbarian hoard at the gates trying to destroy the country.

    Reply

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