Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Monday called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” the most dramatic response yet to the string of terrorist attacks that have Americans increasingly on edge.
Trump released a statement citing polling data he says shows “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”
“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Trump said.
Trump's announcement comes the day after President Barack Obama addressed the nation, calling on Americans “to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country.”
A number of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Trump, have called on Obama to stop accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S. after last month’s deadly attacks in Paris. Trump, however, is the first to suggest ending Muslim immigration as a whole following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.
None of Trump's GOP rivals has yet to back his call, with many speaking out forcefully against it.
“Donald Trump always plays on everyone's worst instincts and fears and saying we're not going to let a single Muslim into this county is a dangerous over reaction,” Carly Fiorina told NBC News after a campaign stop in Iowa.
"This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about," Chris Christie said during a radio interview.
"That’s a ridiculous position," he added.
Lindsey Graham tweeted that "Every candidate for president needs to do the right thing & condemn" Trump's comments.
Ted Cruz, who at times during the race has aligned himself with Trump, said "that is not my policy."
A spokesperson for Ben Carson said, "Everyone visiting our country should register and be monitored during their stay as is done in many countries. We do not and would not advocate being selective on one’s religion.”
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley also took to twitter to respond to the extraordinary proposal:
“It’s entirely inconsistent with the kinds of values that were central to the founding of this country,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily.”