Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day,” host Chris Cuomo interviewed Donald Trump about his call to ban all Muslims from coming into the Untied States, which got very heated.
Transcript as follows:
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers in the United States and around the world, you are watching “New Day.” Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is facing heavy criticism after calling for a, quote, “total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.”
Mr. Trump joins us now on the phone. He wants to make the case.
Mr. Trump, thank you for joining us. Your proposition is plain, ban all Muslims until we can figure out what’s going on. People are asking you how you would do that? I say let’s put that to the side. It’s irrelevant. It’s about the concept. You have leaders from your own party in the key states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, you have galvanized political rivals, all saying this is un-American and extreme and that it makes you a fascist. How do you respond?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (on the phone): Well, I totally disagree. You take a look, Chris, at what’s going on and it is disgraceful. First of all, you know, people quickly forget World Trade Center one, World Trade Center No. 2. And you take a look at all of the things that are happening, having to do with the problems. Now you have the problem in California where — and miraculously $28,000 just found, just put into this guy’s account, this horrible person, this killer, this maniac, into his account. I have no doubt that we have no choice but to do exactly what I said until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. Because we have a problem in this country. You look at Paris. You look at the carnage that took place in Paris.
TRUMP: But look at Paris beyond that. Paris is no longer the beautiful, gorgeous city with all — Paris has a tremendous — lot of problems. They have areas in Paris that have been radicalized where the police refuse to go in and look at it.
CUOMO: We are well aware.
TRUMP: You look at London, you look at other places.
CUOMO: We are well aware. But Mr. Trump, here’s the point.
TRUMP: Wait a minute, Chris. You’re well aware. You say that so routinely. You’re well aware.
CUOMO: Well because I’ve been on the ground, I’ve been in those communities, I’ve talked to the French authorities.
TRUMP: (inaudible) is totally out of control. It’s so dangerous.
CUOMO: Well, that’s what you say. The police are all over that country right now and they’re doing a lot of policing, but more importantly to your point, I would say it’s the opposite reality. You see the French being more embracing of people around them, you see them living their lives, you see them refusing to accept fear as a basis for behavior.
Whereas here, what you’re doing in the country that is known as a symbol of freedom, is saying we’re too afraid to be inclusive. We’re going to reject the promise of America and ban an entire religion, even though we need to do things on a case-by-case basis. It seems as though you’re acting out of fear, not making us look strong, and rejecting what America is all about. U.K. is not doing this. France isn’t doing this.
TRUMP: No, I’m making us look strong, Chris. And don’t tell me about Paris. Paris is under tremendous siege. They are absolutely in fear in Paris. Don’t tell me Paris is not.
CUOMO: They have heightened awareness. They do not have fear and they’re not acting out of it, that’s why they’re letting in refugees —
TRUMP: Come on. They don’t have fear? Of course they have fear.
CUOMO: It’s how you behave in that environment.
TRUMP: I have people that have friends living in Paris. They want to leave, they’re petrified.
CUOMO: But what are they doing? Are they banning all Muslims?
TRUMP: Well, let’s see, maybe they’re going to have to. Maybe they’re going to have to do something.
CUOMO: That’s not even on table.
TRUMP: Look — I’m talking about a temporary situation until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, Chris. We have to figure it out.
CUOMO: The timing is irrelevant.
TRUMP: Listen, we had the World Trade Center No. 1, we had World Trade Center No. 2, we had many other things happen. Then the other day we had the California attack where these two animals, they’re total animals, they became radicalized and they wanted to do far more damage than that. What’s even more disturbing in terms of looking into the future, is other people knew what they were doing. There were pipe bombs laying all over the floor. They had other people that knew what was going on, Chris, and nobody reported it. They used the excuse they didn’t want to be racial profilers. They wanted to be politically correct. By the way, the people that said that, I think in their own way, they’re guilty. The mother knew, the parents knew. Everybody knew. Now even his father is under watch. They just found out.
CUOMO: You use politically correct. This isn’t about being politically correct.
TRUMP: Chris, we can be nice — We can be politically correct, but we have a problem in this country —
CUOMO: This isn’t about being politically correct.
TRUMP: — and we should solve I because you could have many more World Trade Centers if you don’t solve it. Many, many more and probably beyond the World Trade Center.
CUOMO: I don’t see the point of scaring people with the possible when the reality is we haven’t had another World Trade Center. You and I both lived through it. We both lost people there. We know what the real deal is. We know who celebrated and we didn’t. We know what’s scaring people and what the reality is. We haven’t had those kind of attacks. The security network has held up. One of the reasons is our unity as a people. I don’t understand how you can see banning an entire religion as a way of saying anything other than we are what ISIS says we are. We want a war against Islam. That’s who America is. And as you know, or you should know, that is not who America is, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Chris, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.
CUOMO: Right, not all Islam.
TRUMP: We have a president that made a fool out of himself the other night. He doesn’t even mention the term. He refuses to use the term. Nobody understands why. Hillary Clinton, because she’s afraid of the president because of her e-mail scandal, Hillary Clinton refuses to use the term. If you’re not going to even use the term, you’re never going to solve the problem.
CUOMO: But I don’t get how you connect these dots. Because of the e-mail scandal?
TRUMP: We are at war with them, Chris. Put it through your head.
CUOMO: Look — Everybody knows who we’re at war with.
TRUMP: They are looking to do great damage. You look at what’s going on in the Middle East, they are chopping off heads, they are looking to come over to other places, too. And they want the jihad. It’s very simple. They want the jihad.
CUOMO: What does that mean, they want the jihad? You can’t just throw out notions without any kind of checking of them. This is what got you wound up on the “Philadelphia Inquirer” on the front page like Hitler. They got you in a (inaudible) of Hitler right now, a characterization of that.
TRUMP: Philadelphia Inquirer, another newspaper going out of business.
CUOMO: I know, you’re going to disparage whoever criticizes you and I’m waiting for that as well. But here’s the point —
TRUMP: They polled from the center for security policy, released data showing 25 percent of those polls agree. Now these are Muslims living in the United States.
TRUMP: 25 percent of the Muslims living in the United States agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as part of the global jihad.
CUOMO: Donald, we wouldn’t even put that poll on the air. It’s a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that. It’s as bad as those cop stats —
TRUMP: No, it’s not. And you know why? Take a look at the Pew poll. Take a look at the Pew poll. The Pew poll was the same thing, highly respected, and the Pew poll had terrible numbers, too. But listen to this, go a step further.
TRUMP: 51 percent of those polled agreed that Muslims in America should have a choice of being governed under the Sharia. Now, if you’re talking about horrible stuff here, Chris. Now we can close the eyes, we can put the blinders on, but I don’t choose to do that. Now, is it temporary? Yes. It’s until the country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. Our country’s representatives cannot figure it out. Now, the problem I have with that is, they couldn’t even build a website for Obamacare after spending $5 billion. So how do they figure anything out? They can’t figure anything out.
CUOMO: That’s not fair. That’s not fair.
TRUMP: Well, it’s true.
CUOMO: Our security network is the best in the world. If you ask people who are in the business of keeping us safe, they say the idea of banning Muslims does nothing to help and everything to hurt. They’re the experts. That’s what they say. They think this idea is stupid.
TRUMP: Until — well, when you say that — so I spoke before an audience last night of a massive audience last night. Your people were there. Thousands of people inside, thousands of people outside. They couldn’t even get in. And got standing ovations as soon as this was mentioned. Standing ovations.
CUOMO: Of course you did, Mr. Trump. These are your people.
TRUMP: Well, I mean, I have standing ovations from very smart people. These are intelligent people, these are great citizens. These are people that are concerned about our country. Until our country’s representatives can figure it out. Now —
CUOMO: Chris Christie, Jeb Bush –
TRUMP: When they figure it out. But they’ve got to figure it out.
CUOMO: The heads of the party in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, they all say this is wrong.
TRUMP: Because you guys have a tendency to call these guys — they’re not masterminds, they’re not even smart people. You have —
CUOMO: I didn’t call them masterminds, by the way.
TRUMP: — and you’re building them up and then you wonder why kids want to go into ISIS. The fact is until our people can do something about these horrible people that want to do damage to our country, real damage to our country, then I think it stays in place. But it’s temporary until we can figure that out.
CUOMO: But you have just about all of your rivals except Rand Paul, and even that’s qualified, they all reject this notion. Your party leaders reject this notion.
TRUMP: I don’t care about them. Look, look, look —
CUOMO: Who do you care about?
TRUMP: I’ve been a politician for six months.
CUOMO: Do you have to impress anybody but yourself with these ideas?
TRUMP: I’m doing what’s right. I don’t care. I mean maybe —
CUOMO: How do you know what’s right to exempt an entire class of people, a religion?
TRUMP: I only know this –
CUOMO: How is that right? How can it be right?
TRUMP: We have people out there – Excuse me, Chris, can I talk for two seconds?
CUOMO: Please, go ahead. But I want you to tell me why it’s right in America.
TRUMP: Can I talk for two seconds, Chris?
CUOMO: Go ahead, please.
TRUMP: We have people out there that want to do great destruction to our country, whether it’s 25 percent or 10 percent or 5 percent, it’s too much. We have people out there that want to do great — they want our buildings to come down. They want our cities to be crushed. They are living within our country and many of them want to come from outside of our country. I am saying that until we figure this out, we should have a ban. It’s very simple. It’s very simple.
Now, if you look at FDR – ’cause I watched Jeffrey Lord this morning and I thought he was fantastic, by the way, — If you look at him, the presidential proclamations, 2525, 2526, and 2527, it was very — that was very, very stringent. Very, very stringent. And I thought Jeffrey Lord did a fantastic job explaining it this morning on your show.
CUOMO: Okay. Here’s my question to you. I heard Jeffrey Lord. We’re always happy to have him on the show. He makes your case well, no question about that.
TRUMP: He makes his own case well, in all fairness. It wasn’t my case.
CUOMO: Well – fine. And he certainly owns it.
TRUMP: To be honest with you, what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did was worse.
CUOMO: Here is the distinction. One, the United States was at war and he was targeting sovereigns he was at against. The second thing is it was wrong then, it was wrong with the Japanese, and it is wrong now.
TRUMP: Excuse me, you don’t think we’re at war?
CUOMO: We are at war, but not with all of Islam.
TRUMP: We don’t have a president that knows what it is –
CUOMO: When you say – You’re making it worse.
TRUMP: We don’t have a president that can use the term. Chris —
CUOMO: That’s fine criticism.
TRUMP: We are at war.
CUOMO: You can criticize him. The reason that he won’t say Islamic terrorism —
TRUMP: Of course I’ll criticize him, he’s an incompetent president. Chris —
CUOMO: The reason he says it —
TRUMP: We are at war. Get it through your head.
CUOMO: All right. Yeah, I understand what you’re saying, believe me, I live it. We go to these places and cover these things. We understand the threat very well and you know that because you get a lot of your information from us, as you tell us. So – I get it.
Watch (Part 2):
TRUMP: Why do we insist on destroying our country? Why do we – Why are we allowing Syrians —
CUOMO: What destroys America?
TRUMP: Who we don’t even know where they are, we don’t know where they’re coming from. There’s no documentation, there’s no paperwork. Why do we insist on destroying our country?
CUOMO: Make the system better. But what tears at America’s fabric more than rejecting an entire faith in the land of religious freedom?
TRUMP: Chris, let me ask you this. You have a large portion of people from Syria that are Christian. Why aren’t we allowing the Christians in? We only allow the Muslims in.
CUOMO: That’s not true.
TRUMP: Why aren’t we allowing the Christians?
CUOMO: That’s just not true. Does it matter to you that it’s not true?
TRUMP: It is largely true because the percentage is massively in favor of the Muslims.
CUOMO: You have a massive Muslim population.
TRUMP: Excuse me, Chris, the ones that are in the bigger danger are the Christians. They’re the ones having their heads chopped off.
CUOMO: Christians are in trouble? They are being allowed into the refugee program?
TRUMP: We are not allowing the Christians into anywhere near the extent that we should be.
CUOMO: Yeah, you know why? Because people like you say Syrian refugees shouldn’t come into the country. How can you say let the Syrian Christians in, but you don’t want to let Syrian refugees in?
TRUMP: No, we should not let them in because we don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they are, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if they’re a Trojan horse.
CUOMO: So you care about the Syrian Christians, but not enough to let them in.
TRUMP: Let me ask you this. If we’re letting in, why aren’t we letting the Christians in? Why are we letting the Muslims?
CUOMO: You tell me. You’re saying no. You’re the one saying on. You tell me. Why aren’t we letting them in?
TRUMP: Well, I guess Obama set a policy or something.
CUOMO: No, he didn’t set a policy. He is letting them in.
TRUMP: There must have been a policy set by somebody in the administration.
CUOMO: No — that’s just not true. It’s just not true.
TRUMP: If you happen to be a Christian in Syria, it’s almost impossible to come into this country. If you’re a Muslim, you can get in. You explain, why is that, Chris?
CUOMO: Mr. Trump – I will. Give me a second. I’ll explain it to you. The refugee process is onerous. They have to go through the UNHCR first. It can take months, even years. Then it comes to the U.S. vetting. So you’re making the case for refugee vetting, which many people will appreciate. It takes a long time, it’s very exhaustive. However, what we’re dealing with right now in the country, as you well know because you’re a major proponent of it, is ignoring what you just stated as fact, which is that it’s very tough to get through the refugee program and saying even still (inaudible) to keep all of them out.
TRUMP: It’s certainly very tough if you’re a Christian. That I can tell you. If you’re a Christian from Syria it’s almost impossible to come into our country.
CUOMO: Let me ask you this, Mr. Trump. We’ve had a couple of conversations on and off camera about the GOP being fair to you. That you’re not going to do a third party thing. You’re going to stay true to your pledge as long as they’re fair. Can you blame the GOP for moving against you after saying something like this? Can you accuse of them being unfair if they say, listen, we can’t have our nominee be someone who’s tearing at the fabric of what America is. We’re going to have to do something against you with the convention or whatever they come up with. Would you still hold to the pledge because you’ve created your own problem?
TRUMP: There’s no problem. I’m just doing the right thing, Chris. I’m just doing the right thing. I could have very well rested on my poll numbers, which you just released and they’re phenomenal. I’m leading everyone. I could rest on them very nicely and there’s no problem. They go up, they go down. I have to do the right thing. I am talking about a measure, it’s a measure that ends, it’s not a measure that’s in stone. We have to find out what we’re doing. We’re letting people into our country. We don’t know who they are. We have people here right now that are getting $28,000 miraculously over the last little while deposited in their account that they’re using for every sinister purposes.
There are, like these two, this husband and wife, this horrendous, horrible husband and wife, you have many other people like that in this country. You have many other people that are having checks deposited in their accounts to do destruction and we have to find out what we’re doing. If the Republican Party likes it, that’s fine. If they done the like it, that’s fine also. As you know, I’m leading in every single — virtually every single poll. I think you just came out with one yesterday in Iowa. I’m crushing it in Iowa. I’m doing great with the people of Iowa, who I love. And frankly, I think that people will agree with me.
Hey, look, I have thousands of people — you had your reporters there — I had thousands of people last night, right, at an event last night in South Carolina, a great place, thousands of people couldn’t get in. We got standing ovations as soon as I mentioned it. I hadn’t even finished the sentence. Now, what I also said, and it was very important, I made the statement, it’s a shut down until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. That’s important. Because that doesn’t mean it’s permanent. It’s temporary.
CUOMO: But I’ll tell you what —
TRUMP: But we have to get our arms around it and we don’t want to be like Paris where you can’t go into the city or sections where there are police. Their police are afraid to go into certain sections of Paris. They are petrified. They will not do it. They leave the (inaudible).
CUOMO: That is a mythology. They’re going, they’re doing operations by the hundreds. They’re getting a handle on the situation. But most importantly, they’re staying together. I think that your poll data actually reflects a responsibility on you, Mr. Trump, because people are listening to you and America is great because it is united. Our diversity is our greatest string.
TRUMP: But you know what? They’re listening to me because I have commonsense. That’s why. Because most of these politicians were not born with business ability —
CUOMO: This doesn’t sound like commonsense to a lot of people.
TRUMP: — and that’s why I’m doing well. I have commonsense. I know what has to be done. We don’t want have a situation like Paris and we don’t want to have another World Trade Center which, by the way, they tried to knock down twice. The first time they were unsuccessful. We don’t want that, Chris. We need intelligence in this country. We need a certain toughness in this country or we’ll end up like a lot of other places and we’re not going to have a country left.
CUOMO: The fear is real, there’s no question about it. Mr. Trump, thank you for coming on NEW DAY, as always, to make the case. We know that you’re fighting with your throat so thank you for making the effort. Appreciate it.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
CUOMO: The best to you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
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