On Monday, Donald Trump stepped in what appears to be his biggest pile of rhetorical poop yet. In light of the recent terrorist-related attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the billionaire GOP frontrunner released a statement suggesting a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a move so next-level extreme that some on Twitter speculated it might not even be real.
Of course, it was, and now, the obligatory Backlash to Something Trump Said has begun. But unlike that time he called Mexicans rapists—or the time he hinted that Fox New's Megyn Kelly was on her period, or when he said a Black Lives Matter protester removed from his rally maybe "deserved to be roughed up," or when he compared Ben Carson to a pedophile, or said American Muslims should be tracked in a database—this time it seems as though the stink may stick. Hell, even J.K. Rowling is pissed.
In a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest offered a stern rebuke of Trump's latest WTF, saying that in addition to being unconstitutional, the suggestion is "toxic" and "offensive," and also referring to Trump as a "carnival barker" with "fake hair."
"What Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president," Earnest told reporters.
The outrage over Trump's remarks isn't limited to Democrats. US Senator Lindsey Graham, perhaps looking to get out of the basement of the GOP presidential race, addressed Trump's supporters on CNN Tuesday, wondering what exactly they thought they were getting out of their support. "He's a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot," Graham said. "He doesn't represent my party. He doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for... He's the ISIL man of the year."
Carly Fiorina, who's had her own run-ins with Trump in the past, said she believed he "always plays on everyone's worst instincts and fears" and that not allowing Muslims into the country is a "dangerous overreaction."
Even former Vice President Dick Cheney condemned Trump's ideas. "Well I think this whole notion that somehow we need to say no more Muslims and just ban a whole religion goes against everything we stand for and believe in," he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in an on-air interview Tuesday. "I mean religious freedom's been a very important part of our history."
Trump, meanwhile, seems typically nonplussed. When asked Tuesday by CNN's Jake Tapper about the negative reactions to his statement and whether or not such beliefs make him un-American—or worse, a fascist, Trump deflected in the nonsensical style we've come to expect:
"Well, I totally disagree," he said. "You take a look at what's going on, and it is disgraceful. You take a look at World Trade Center One, you take a look at World Trade Center Two and you take a look at all the things that are happening having to do with the problems, now you have the problem in California where, and miraculously $28,000 just found in this guy's, just put into this guy's account, this horrible person, this killer this maniac into his account. I have no doubt that we have no choice to do what I said until our country's representatives can figure out, what the hell is going on."
Just as in Monday's release, Trump offered no explanation about what just what it is he thinks might be "going on."
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