WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)– Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is backtracking after reports that he would support a mandatory database to track Muslims in the United States, saying he wasn’t the one who initiated the idea.
The billionaire businessman took to Twitter to defend his comments.
While it’s true that an NBC News reporter did bring up the concept, Trump responded voicing his support for it.
“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely,” Trump told a reporter between campaign events Thursday in Newton, Iowa, according to video posted on MSNBC.com.
He said Muslims would be signed up at “different places,” adding, “It’s all about management.”
Asked whether registering would be mandatory, Trump responded, “They have to be.”
The latest comments come less than a week after the deadly attacks on a concert hall, sports stadium and restaurants in Paris that have elevated fears of attacks in in the U.S. and prompted calls for new restrictions on Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.
He also suggested he would consider warrantless searches, according to Yahoo, saying, “We’re going to have to do things that we never did before.”
Asked by reporters Thursday night to explain his Yahoo comments, Trump suggested his response had been misconstrued. “I never responded to that question,” he said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Thursday condemning Trump for what the group described as “Islamophobic and unconstitutional” comments targeting American Muslims and Syrian refugees.