“What I’m doing is no different than FDR,” Trump said on ABC’s Good Morning America show in one of a round of heated television interviews where he defended his plan in the wake of last week’s California shooting spree.
“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 to figure out what’s going on.”
Still, Trump said that Roosevelt’s policies were worse. During World War II, more than 110,000 people were forcibly detained in US government detention camps.
Donald Trump defends his call to bar Muslims, citing Roosevelt's actions during World War II as precedent https://t.co/g9FBNJgIgJ— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 8, 2015
Roosevelt issued the policies immediately after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, authorising law enforcement to target “alien enemies”.
In an unusually lengthy interview on MSNBC, Trump said he did not know how long the ban on Muslims would last.
“Until we can get our hands around the situation, we have to do something and we have to do it now,” he said.
Critics have said Trump’s plan rejects American values by singling out people based on their religion and would also likely be illegal and unconstitutional.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
Trump’s was the most dramatic response by a presidential candidate following the San Bernardino, California, rampage, even as other Republicans have called for a suspension to US president Barack Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 refugees from Syria.
The proposal drew a wave of criticism from fellow Republicans, US lawmakers and others.
US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, told reporters the plan is “not conservatism” and was not in the nation’s interest.
The proposal was criticised in France, which had its worst attacks since World War II on November 13 when shootings and suicide bombings in Paris killed 130 people.
Trump reiterated that a ban would last until Congress acts. He also said Muslim Americans would be allowed back into the country after an overseas trip.
In a confrontational exchange with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, Trump, his voice hoarse, defended such measures as necessary: “We’re at war. Get it through your head, Chris.”
Trump’s Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them.
“Donald Trump is unhinged,” Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”