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Trump Calls For 'Total And Complete Shutdown Of Muslims Entering' U.S.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Iowa this weekend.
Charlie Neibergall AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Iowa this weekend.

Donald Trump made a drastic call on Monday for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Trump's call comes one day after President Obama's address from the Oval Office following the shootings in San Bernardino that were carried out an apparently self-radicalized married couple. The male shooter was an American citizen, born in the United States. His wife was born in Pakistan, but was in the U.S. legally on a visa for fiancées.

Trump, the wealthy real-estate magnate who remains atop the GOP presidential field, has faced backlash for previous statements against Muslims and, before that, Hispanics. In the wake of Paris terror attacks, Trump endorsed the idea of a database to register Muslims in the U.S. and saying he would "strongly consider" shutting down some mosques.

Pointing to polling data from the Pew Research Center and the right-leaning Center for Security Policy, Trump argued that Muslims' "great hatred" of America had reached such a peak that drastic measures should be taken. But the data — or the validity of it — isn't what's important.

"Without looking at the various polling data," Trump said in a statement, "it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. 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 Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski clarified that the ban would apply to "everyone," including tourists, according to ABC. He also noted that Trump would discuss it further in a speech Monday night in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

The polling Trump uses — or interprets — to substantiate his argument is also suspect. The June 2015 Center for Security Policy poll is an online survey — a method seen as less reliable than live-caller surveys. Respondents were also given limited or leading choices for their responses.

A 2011 Pew survey, which Trump appears to be referencing, surveyed Muslims in seven Muslim-majority countries — Muslims in the U.S. The word "hate" was never used — 68 percent of Muslims surveyed described Westerners as "selfish," 66 percent called them "violent" and 57 percent said "arrogant."

Muslim groups immediately sounded the alarm following Trump's sweeping call.

"One has to wonder what Donald Trump will say next as he ramps up his anti-Muslim bigotry," Council on American-Islamic Relations communications director Ibrahim Hooper told the Washington Post. "Where is there left for him to go? Are we talking internment camps? Are we talking the final solution to the Muslim question? I feel like I'm back in the 1930s."

One of Trump's rivals, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was quick to condemn the Republican's statement.

"This is kind of thing people say when they have no experience & no idea what they're talking about," Christie said, according to WNYC's Matt Katz.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Trump was "unhinged."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted that "every candidate for president needs to do the right thing and condemn" Trump's statement.

Democratic presidential candidates also weighed in.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.