Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, calling it a temporary measure in a time of war.
Trump likened his proposal to those implemented by former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt against people of Japanese, Germans and Italian descent during World War Two.
“What I’m doing is no different than FDR,” Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program in one of a round of heated television interviews where he defended his plan in the wake of last week’s California shooting spree by two Muslims who authorities said were radicalized.
“We have no choice but to do this,” the candidate seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race told ABC. “We have people that want to blow up our buildings, our cities. We have figure out what’s going on.”
Critics have said his plan rejects American values by singling out people solely based on their religion.
Fellow Republican candidates as well as Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia have denounced the plan.
Two international organizations, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration refugee agency, also rejected Trump’s comments.
Trump’s was the most dramatic response by a presidential candidate, even as other Republicans have called for a suspension to U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 refugees from Syria.
On Tuesday, he reiterated that the plan would be temporary, telling ABC that the ban would last until Congress acts on the issue. He also said that an American citizen who is Muslim would be allowed back into the country after an overseas trip.
Still, he said he did not support internment camps, which Roosevelt had set up during World War Two.
“I don’t want to bring to bring them back at all,” Trump said. He added that his plan had met with “tremendous support” from thousands of people who “just want to see something happen.”
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)