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Trump Stokes Anti-Muslim Anxieties in Wake of Attacks

by Jane C. Timm /
In this photo taken June 2, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses during a rally in San Jose, Calif. Slowly and grudgingly, the Republican establishment is falling in line behind Trump but the endorsements are coming with a bushel of hold-your-nose caveats, hedges, exceptions and qualifiers.Jae C. Hong / AP

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Donald Trump stoked anti-Muslim anxieties in a speech delivered Monday, one day after a man who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 and wounded 53 in a deadly shooting at a nightclub popular with the LGBTQ community.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested — without presenting any supporting evidence — that Muslims had previous knowledge of Sunday’s attack, as well as others, and implied that they could have stopped the attacks but did not.

“People that are around him, Muslims, know who they are, largely. They know who they are. They have to turn them in. They know who they are, they see them,” Trump said on "Fox and Friends" of the Orlando shooter. On "CBS This Morning," Trump said “very shortly you'll find out that many people knew that he was bad, many people knew that he had some kind of an idea, you know, for an attack.”

He went on to portray refugees as terrorists.

“That’s just one person,” he said of the Orlando shooting. “Can you imagine what they’ll do in large groups, which we’re now allowing to come here?”

Earlier in the day, he said “thousands and thousands” of radicalized Muslims are flowing into the country as refugees, though just 1,285 Syrian refugees have actually made it to America despite the president’s plan to welcome 10,000 refugees into the country.

“We have — by the way, thousands and thousands of people pouring into our country right now who have the same kind of hate and probably even more than he has. And we have to stop. We cannot take in more Syrian refugees, many of them are going to be causing big problems in the future,” he said on Fox News.

In the days following the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California, as well as the attacks in Paris and Brussels by terrorists with ISIS sympathies or ties, Trump repeatedly declared that Muslims are a threat to America. In December, he called for a ban on allowing Muslims to enter the nation.

After the recent shooting in Orlando, he renewed calls for the ban and continued to stoke Islamophobic fears.

In interviews on Monday, Trump routinely spoke about the attacks in San Bernardino by a married couple. On Fox News, he said that there were “bombs all over the floor, many people saw the bombs, those bombs weren’t there as play toys. And they could have been reported long before San Bernardino took effect.”

A neighbor of the San Bernardino shooters has been arrested for plotting another attack that wasn’t carried out and for buying a weapon for the couple, but there’s little evidence that neighbors or others shielded them from the authorities. PolitiFact found similar claims to be untrue. On the contrary, members of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook said he seemed "peaceful" and devout.

After past terror attacks, Trump has harped on fears of Muslims and refugees repeatedly.

“Lock your doors!” he told a Rhode Island crowd in April, and falsely claimed in November that “thousands and thousands of people” in a Muslim neighborhood in New Jersey were cheering while the World Trade Centers towers fell on 9/11.

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