WASHINGTON: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump launched new attacks on immigrants, including Filipinos, Thursday (Friday in Manila), telling supporters that Somalis and other refugees from “terrorist nations” should be barred entry to the United States.
Trump listed several immigrants, mostly countries with Muslim populations—Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Uzbekistan and Yemen—who were arrested for conducting or threatening to carry out violent attacks, teaching bomb-making to recruits, and otherwise supporting terror groups.
“We’re dealing with animals,” he seethed. “We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” Trump, who has built his campaign around an anti-immigration platform, said at a rally in Portland, Maine.
“You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time,” he said, reprising a warning that terrorists including members of the Islamic State extremist group will sneak into the United States as refugees.
“This is a practice that has to stop,” he said.
Trump pointed to the Somali immigrant population as an example of the “thousands” of refugees who have flooded into Maine and other US states and caused problems.
He said efforts to resettle Somali refugees—many of them in Minnesota—were “having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state’s … safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups.”
Trump caused an uproar last December when he called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States, and he has harangued his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for seeking to allow many times more refugees into the country than President Barack Obama has.
“Hillary Clinton wants to have them come in by the hundreds of thousands,” Trump warned, to a chorus of boos. “You’re going to have problems like you’ve never seen.”
He said Clinton “can never be trusted with national security.”
Trump grappled Thursday (Friday in Manila) with fallout from multiple recent missteps, amid a new round of unfavorable polls and as House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated that his support for the Republican presidential nominee was not guaranteed.
The brash billionaire’s ability to stay on message during an intensifying general election campaign has been called into question by members of his own party, with Ryan delivering a pointed critique of Trump’s performance 96 days before Americans choose between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Republican flagbearer steered his campaign into the rough in recent days by provoking a clash with the family of a Muslim American soldier killed in action, and then declining to endorse Ryan and Senator John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, in their congressional re-election campaigns.
Ryan said that he would continue to back Trump despite the swirling controversy over the family of soldier Humayun Khan. But “none of these things are ever blank checks,” Ryan told Wisconsin’s WTAQ radio.
“You would think that we want to be focusing on Hillary Clinton, on all of her deficiencies,” he added.
“She is such a weak candidate that one would think that we would be on offense against Hillary Clinton, and it is distressing that that’s not what we’re talking about these days,” Ryan said.
Trump has been battered by a series of recent polls that show Clinton enjoying a strong bounce in support after last week’s Democratic National Convention.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton leading Trump by nine points nationally, 47 percent to 38 percent, while a trio of other surveys show her widening her lead in battleground states.
A Fox News poll has Clinton leading by 10 points in Colorado, while a Franklin & Marshall College survey puts her ahead of Trump by 11 points in Pennsylvania, a crucial contest because of its substantial number of white, male, working-class voters.
And in New Hampshire, Clinton shot ahead to a comfortable 17-point lead, 51 percent to 34 percent, according to a WBUR poll.