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Some big GOP players say Trump has a point

<p>While many in the GOP are fiercely condemning Donald Trump for his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslim from entering the U.S., there’s a whole lot of other Republicans who are saying, hey, he has a point.</p><p>From established party figures such as Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum to the more hardcore right-wing personalities such as Ann Coulter, numerous Republicans are either stopping short of condemning Trump’s audacious proposal or are outright applauding the billionaire businessman as finally offering a commonsense solution to terrorism threats.</p><p>They are offering a glimpse into why Trump has continued to zoom ahead in the polls, despite a series of jaw-dropping comments that the many in the media, and now the White House, have presented as not only offensive but disqualifying for the leader of the free world. </p><p>Santorum, who is at the bottom of the polls in the GOP race, aligned himself with the man at the top in a radio interview on Sirius XM’s “Breitbart News Daily” Tuesday, while stopping short of endorsing his proposal. The former Pennsylvania senator said that he hasn’t proposed banning all Muslims, “but a lot of them.”</p><p>“I’ve proposed actual concrete things and immigration law that would have – not the effect of banning all Muslims, but a lot of them because we need to get rid of the visa lottery system, which is the way in which a lot of radicals have come into this country,” Santorum said. </p><br><p>“I think the way Trump has proposed it, it may have some constitutional infirmity. We can do it in a more practical way than in the way Donald Trump is suggesting,” he continued.</p><p>Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee likewise questioned the constitutionality and logistics of Trump’s plan, but he didn’t criticize the idea behind the proposal. &quot;We need an all-in, effective way to screen foreigners and keep Americans safe because radical Islamic terrorism is the real threat. Huckabee <a href=”https://twitter.com/bgittleson/status/674271376958689282″ target=”_blank”>said</a>.</p><p>Cruz caused even more waves by repeatedly saying that Trump’s proposal is &quot;not my policy&quot; but refusing to outright condemn the billionaire businessman whose voters could conceivably move over to Cruz in significant numbers if Trump implodes.</p><p>“I do not agree with his proposal. I do not think it is the right solution,” Cruz said Tuesday as he unveiled his own plan to protect against Islamic terrorism. Twice Cruz said he did not agree with Trump, before praising him.</p><p>“I like Donald Trump,” Cruz said. “I commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders.”</p><p>It was similar to the tone he struck on Monday, talking to reporters at a Greenville, S.C. campaign office. Sen. Lindsey Graham ripped into Cruz Tuesday morning for not denouncing Trump’s proposal. “Hey, Ted—this is not a policy debate. Nobody, I mean, nobody believe this works, Ted. The bottom line is that you need to stand up for our party and for our country, and if you want to make America great again, reject this without any doubt or hesitation,” Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.&quot; “It puts our troops and diplomats at risk overseas. I just got back from Iraq a week ago Monday, and they were worried about his behavior and statements even before this.&quot;</p><p>Trump on Monday set off his latest furor when his campaign fired off an emailed statement that proposed temporarily banning all Muslims, a move that came as Americans remain rattled by the apparent terrorist attack last week carried out in San Bernardino by a Muslim husband-and-wife team. Trump, in a vague policy prescription, said the U.S. borders should be closed to Muslims until it can be determined why many people who are Muslim want to unleash violence in America.</p><p>&quot;Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension,&quot; Trump said. &quot;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.&quot;</p><p>The blowback was swift from not only many of Trump’s GOP rivals but from figures such as former Vice President Dick Cheney and former GOP presidential nominees Bob Dole and Mitt Romney. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also weighed in on Tuesday, <a href=”http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/reince-priebus-condemns-trump-on-muslim-ban/article/2577868″ target=”_blank”>saying</a>, &quot;We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.&quot;</p><p>But others haven’t been so quick to call Trump out. </p><p>Newt Gingrich, who was previously speaker of the House and made a run for president in 2012, criticized Trump’s tone in his proposal – but that’s about it.</p><p>“I think Trump’s idea may be too strong, but I think something jarring is very helpful in leading to a national debate in how big this problem is, and how dangerous it is,” Gingrich said, according to the <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/12/07/donald-trump-calls-for-banning-muslims-from-entering-u-s/” target=”_blank”>New York Times</a>. “Nine percent of Pakistanis agree with ISIS, according to one poll. That’s a huge number. We need to put all the burden of proof on people coming from those countries to show that they are not a danger to us.”</p><p>Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican and hardliner on immigration, avoided addressing Trump’s comment directly but said he appreciated Trump’s use of his advice, according to CNN. Sessions has previously advised Trump on immigration and appeared at an Alabama rally for the real estate mogul earlier this year.</p><p>“I’ve been pleased that he took a lot of my ideas in his immigration policy, but I have not endorsed Mr. Trump or anyone else,&quot; Sessions said when asked about Trump’s comments. Pressed on whether he would support Trump’s proposal, Session stopped talking as he rushed to a Senate elevator,” the CNN article <a href=”http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/08/politics/donald-trump-muslim-republicans-2016/” target=”_blank”>reads</a>.</p><p>Other conservative voices have been more extreme, and have heavily praised Trump for his proposal, which some have hypothesized was timed to boost Trump’s support. The policy position was emailed from the Trump camp just hours after a new Iowa poll showed Cruz zooming past Trump in the state.</p><br><p>Ann Coulter, a prominent right-wing commentator and author, was thrilled by Trump’s latest position. “Add in every other kind of immigrant and it’s perfect! <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23moritorium” target=”_blank”>#moritorium</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AssimilateTheOnesWeHave” target=”_blank”>#AssimilateTheOnesWeHave</a>” she <a href=”https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/673985425002905600″ target=”_blank”>tweeted</a> Monday.</p><p>“My best birthday gift! Donald Trump Calls For ‘Complete Shutdown’ of Muslim Entry to U.S.” she <a href=”https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/674223931474227200″ target=”_blank”>followed</a> on Tuesday. </p><p>And Democrats jumped at the chance to paint the rest of the GOP with the same brush, even those like Sen. Marco Rubio who condemned Trump’s proposal but who had asked for evidence that America had a problem with Islamophobia on Sunday night. &quot;Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?&quot; Rubio asked during an appearance on Fox News after President Barack Obama’s address to the nation about terrorism threats.</p><p>White House Communications Director Jen Psaki called out Rubio, and other GOP candidates during POLITICO’s Playbook Breakfast on Tuesday morning.</p><p>“Well, I would say Marco Rubio has been out there talking about how Muslims have not been discriminated against. That is just not factually true. You’ve seen Jeb Bush make some comments, problematic comments about Muslims and sort of what restrictions should be put in place,” Psaki said. “It’s not just that this isn’t who we are as a country, this is also sending a message overseas that we are—we’re for restrictions, we’re for, you know, kind of preventing a community from really flourishing in the United States. That’s not who we are, and that’s exactly the kind of message that’s strengthening ISIL and their recruitment overseas.&quot;</p><p>Trump, for his part predicts support for his proposal will only grow. </p><p>“Well they’ve [other candidates] been condemning practically everything I say, and then they come to my side,” Trump said Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They were condemning the wall, they were condemning illegal immigration, they were condemning all of the things that I’ve been espousing and now most of them are on my side. And the ones that aren’t on my side are down to about zero in the polls and aren’t going to go anywhere— I mean, I see the … and not everybody has condemned … if you want to be specific about it.&quot;</p><br>

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