Trump Reiterates Support for the Racial Profiling of Muslim Americans

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Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Phoenix, Arizona
Over there.Photo: Ralph Freso/2016 Getty Images

In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, Donald Trump told host John Dickerson that, “I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.” Though Trump insisted that he hates the “concept of profiling,” it’s also “not the worst thing to do,” and he gave the rationale that, “other countries do it; you look at Israel and you look at others and they do it and they do it successfully.” It was simply a matter of “common sense,” according to Trump, which is increasingly the term he uses whenever he proposes that the U.S. government discriminate against a religious minority. “We have to use, you know, we have to use our heads … we really have to look at profiling. We have to look at it seriously,” he added. 

As the Washington Post points out, Trump seemed to try and relate the security screening process at his rallies to what America should be doing to Muslims, though that section of his remarks didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Trump also cited the New York Police Department’s use of profiling as a example to be emulated by the federal government, though he did not mention how that program seemed to accomplish nothing other than landing the city in court.

Originally, following the San Bernardino terrorist attack last fall, Trump had suggested the limited profiling of Muslims who behaved suspiciously, characterizing resistance to that idea as an expression of irresponsible political correctness. Relatedly, Trump has repeatedly said that the friends and families of Islamist terrorists are complicit in their actions, basically making the argument that Muslims can’t be trusted to monitor their own communities, an argument he more or less repeated on Sunday. He has also previously pushed for the “surveillance of certain mosques,” and said he would “strongly consider” shutting down some mosques if needed. On Sunday, he celebrated France for how they have targeted mosques following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year.

At one point, Trump has even said that he wouldn’t oppose creating a database of all Muslim Americans, though he has yet to revisit that idea since November. Trump has also insisted that he saw Muslim Americans celebrating the 9/11 attacks on 9/11, though no evidence or footage of such an event has ever been found (or seen by anyone else), and said he has “no doubt” that Muslim immigrants will stage another 9/11 in the U.S., as well as that Muslim immigrants have ISIS-funded cell phones, and that, in general, “Islam hates us,” noting that telling the difference between Islam and radical Islam (his favorite term) is tough because it’s “very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.” Trump has also called for the U.S. to once again torture its prisoners, when speaking about combating Islamic extremism and groups like ISIS. That’s all in addition to his recently renewed proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States until the government is “in a position to properly and perfectly screen those people coming into our country,” though the actual particulars of that proposal are still left to speculation at this point, and Trump’s fellow Republicans have attempted to create significant distance between themselves and Trump’s plan.