Giuliani: Trump's Commission to Assess Muslim Ban 'A Good Idea'

The former New York mayor has backed the GOP candidate's vague proposal to set up a commission that would assess his immigration policy and ban on Muslims.
May 12, 2016, 4:15pm
Donald Teump and Rudy Giuliani. (Photo by Seth Wenig/AP)

Rudy Giuliani has supported Donald Trump's vague proposal to form a "radical Islam" commission that would assess the Republican presidential frontrunner's campaign proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, among other immigration issues, calling it a "good idea."

Trump first floated the idea of a commission during a Fox News interview on Wednesday, suggesting Giuliani could possibly helm the group. While fuzzy on the details, the billionaire businessman linked the commission with plans to be "extremely vigilant" on Muslims and Syrian refugees coming to the country, and excoriated President Barack Obama for his refusal to use the term "radical Islamic terrorism."

"I'm thinking about setting up a commission, perhaps headed by Rudy Giuliani, to take a very serious look at this problem," Trump said.

On Wednesday night, Giuliani, a Republican and former presidential candidate who was New York's mayor when the 9/11 attacks occurred, lent support to Trump's proposal, despite saying earlier that the plan to ban Muslims from the US entirely was "unconstitutional."

"I think the idea of studying how we can best deal with radical Islam, and try to figure how to distinguish between all the good people who are Muslims and the bad ones, is a good idea," Giuliani said.

Giuliani said he was open to the idea of Trump asking him to lead the commission, but remained skeptical that either scenario would come to fruition.

"[Trump] says a lot of things, and we'll see what happens," he said.

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Giuliani threw his support behind the Republican frontrunner as he campaigned in the lead up to New York's April primary, during which time the former mayor said Trump was "clearly the best choice," while stressing he was not involved in the campaign as a surrogate or in any other capacity.

Despite his support, Giuliani diverged with Trump's claims that there were "thousands" of Muslim Americans cheering and celebrating in the streets of New Jersey after al Qaeda terrorists brought the World Trade Center towers down on September 11, 2001.

"We did have some celebrating, that is true… We had pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn -- 10, 12, 30, 40," Giuliani told CNN in December, but that Trump was "exaggerating" the numbers. No evidence has been found to corroborate Trump's claim.

Late last year, Giuliani said he would halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees entirely in the US in favor of setting up a "no fly zone" to protect Syrians in their home country, but also said a ban on Muslims entirely would violate the constitution.

"If you do a ban on all Muslims, I have no question that you violate the First Amendment," Giuliani told Fox News. "[The government] can't use religion as a test or race or gender as a basis for why someone can't come in."

The former mayor added that candidates needed to be "realistic" about their immigration proposals, saying that such a ban on Muslims would hurt business as well as propagate the radicalization of individuals.

"We have to tell people things that are realistic," Giuliani said. "Thousands and thousands of Egyptians, people from Doha, people from Dubai, people from the Emirates — we do business with them. They own businesses in the United States. We own businesses there. We trade oil. We trade natural gas."

"Also if you did that, you would really take that population and start radicalizing a lot more of them if you did it. To me, it's not a sensible proposal," he added.

While Giuliani was largely welcoming of documented and undocumented immigrants to New York during his term as the city's mayor, he assumed a stricter stance after 9/11, citing immigration as a national security concern.