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Donald Trump Calling for a Ban on All Muslims Entering the United States. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 7, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is everybody here having a good time?
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ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Amazing moment in Paris. That does it for us. Right now, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Donald Trump calling for a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States and getting cheers tonight from supporters at a campaign rally in South Carolina.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.
Much to get to right now. So, let's go straight to CNN's Jeff Zeleny in South Carolina. Jeff, good evening. Donald Trump read this new statement about banning Muslims out loud. Let's listen to exactly what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Remember the poll numbers. You guys all remember this. So, listen. Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
TRUMP: We have no choice. We have no choice. We have no choice. According to Pew Research, among others, there is a great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.
Most recently, a poll from Center for Security Policy released data showing 25 percent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans -- these are people that are here, by the way, people here, 25 -- not 1 percent. By the way, 1 percent would be unacceptable. One percent is unacceptable, 25 percent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as part -- think of that, as part of the global Jihad.
(CROWD BOOING) TRUMP: They want to change your religion. I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't think so. Not going to happen. As part of the global Jihad, and 51 percent of those polled agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being govern according to Sharia. You know what Sharia is.
TRUMP: Fifty one percent. Sharia author -- authorizes -- and look, this is -- I mean, it's terrible. Sharia authorizes such atrocities as murder against nonbelievers who won't convert. Beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women. I mean, you look, especially women.
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LEMON: So, Jeff Zeleny, you can hear the crowd there, the reaction. This idea is well received by a number of people in that crowd.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It was, without a doubt, Don. I mean, not the entire crowd stood and applauded, but boy, a lot of the people in the crowd sure did.
And we talked to several of them beforehand and afterwards. And there is definitely a sense of anger and fear and frustration in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting. They believe that political correctness has sort of run amuck. That's why they're drawn to Donald Trump in the first place.
So, there's no question that Donald Trump is sort of using this as a moment to help himself politically here. I have no doubt that it will actually help him among his base. But the bigger question is, what does it do in the long-term? And boy, everyone across the spectrum of politics tonight is denouncing Donald Trump.
LEMON: He is citing stats in this, Jeff, so what do you know about this Center for Security Policy, the group that he's citing this poll -- about these poll numbers of Muslims?
ZELENY: Well, first, the group. The group of itself, you know, has such an innocuous sounding name, the Center for Security Policy. It's actually run by a former official from the Reagan Defense Department, Frank Gaffney. And he is on the list of the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups in America.
He's one of the top hate members of the Islam faith. They say that if they're going to add his group on their list in 2016 of top hate groups. So, they denounce all of this. They denounce his research. They say that he is simply has been pushing this agenda here.
And Donald Trump said that he knows him, he's a friend of his. But using these numbers specifically in this speech, they sound good, but at least the Southern Poverty Law Center, which we all trust is a credible organization, says that it's not credible at all actually. It is hate speech.
[22:04:59] LEMON: Jeff, and the other candidates are responding tonight, correct?
ZELENY: They are responding across the board. I'm not sure we've ever seen anything so swiftly like this. Sometimes the -- a fellow republican candidates will sort of watch and see what happens.
But across the board, Jeb Bush said he's unhinged. Chris Christie said it's actually, you know, we should be reaching out to Muslim communities to get them to help in investigations like this.
But the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, he issued a statement saying this sent a shiver down his spine tonight, even Vice President Dick Cheney weighing in saying it's simply un-American.
LEMON: Jeff Zeleny reporting from South Carolina. Jeff, thank you very much. Joining me now is pastor Mark Burns, founder and president of the Now Network.
So, Pastor Burns, good evening to you. You introduced Donald Trump tonight. Do you agree with this statement on Muslims? Do you still endorse him?
MARK BURNS, THE NOW NETWORK FOUNDER & PRESIDENT: Well, absolutely, I do still endorse Mr. Trump and I do agree what he's saying. Listen, it's simply for, you know, security, national security reasons.
Again, I don't think this is an attack on Muslims, per se. I really think this is all about the Islamic terrorists that are weeding their way into our country and cause a lot of damage.
I mean, again, look what just happened in California? You know, those two, Pastor DeKay that won one of this process with flying colors. And so, obviously, you know, ISIS is not self-contained or controlled like the democrats will have you to believe.
And so, I really think Americans just simply want to be protected. Mr. Trump has done what he's always done. Say in publicly what a lot of people are saying privately.
LEMON: So, if this is not, you say it's not all Muslims, you don't put but all Muslims would be affected. Most Muslims is saying a complete and total ban.
BURNS: Well, again, I think we talk and this is not a -- Mr. Trump is not speaking permanently. This is simply a temporary solution to try to identify what's taking place in our government, what's taking place in our country. What our leaders doing to protect our families.
I'm a father of six beautiful children. I have a one boy tomorrow. You know, I don't want to be at Chuck E. Cheese's or at McDonald's and a car bomb goes off from someone that could have easily have been identified by our government as a potential terrorist threat.
And so, again, this is not about -- I have -- I have personal with many Muslims, and so with Mr. Trump. He said it tonight in Mt. Pleasant. He has mini Muslims friends. This is not about the faith, of the Muslim fate. This is about the -- the Islamic terrorists that are using that faith to infiltrate in several mosques across America to persuade them to do damage to America and not doing...
LEMON: You said something, Pastor Burns, that I think is really important. You said this is about the conversations that people are having privately. Do you think that most people are having this sort of conversation privately and agree with Donald Trump privately even though they may not say it publicly?
BURNS: Without question. Listen, I'm a father, as I said, of six. I believe every father that is watching me right now, even as a pastor. The word "pastor" means shepherd. It is God has a heart of a shepherd to protect his people.
Mr. Trump wants to simply protect the Americans. I believe every father who has a daughter, who has children, who has a wife, do not want to see -- they don't want to be at the morgue identifying their loves one because of an IED. That went off or a car bomb or some terrorist attack that took place in California to happen right in their own towns. So, I believe...
LEMON: But I have to ask you, you're a pastor and you're a religious leader and many people might see this as religious discrimination. Surely you're not in support of a policy that discriminates against people of faith. What if these were Christians?
BURNS: Well, again, I don't -- again, this is important, you understand. He's not attacking the faith of Islam. This is so important that you understand this. We're not just -- he's not attacking the faith of Islam. He is simply saying we need to have a tighter grip right now -- this is only a temporary action, too.
This is not a permanent action, but a temporary action. You understand there are a thousand active open cases, ISIS cases right now in the homeland, a thousand active, open cases in the homeland right now and many of them are communicating within the Islamic faith. So, this is not an attack on Muslims and the wonderful faith of Islam. This is attack of all the...
LEMON: How do you know there are a thousand active cases? How do you know that?
BURNS: ... the terrorist groups. The Jihadist, the terrorist groups that are using the faith and, again, this is not just -- terrorism is not just isolated just to the Christian -- to the Muslim faith. It's across the board.
[22:09:58] It is our job as Americans to simply, to protect our families, protect our homes, and as a pastor. I want to protect my church in Easley, South Carolina. I want to protect my wife.
Every father that is watching this want to make sure their families are protected and that's all Mr. Trump is doing. And, remember, again, as I'm stating, it's a temporary solution.
LEMON: Many people of color apart are the Muslim community. They are Muslims, they are practicing Muslims. Are you concerned about their right?
BURNS: Well, again, I think it's real important that -- we're not talking about hurting the Muslims in this -- the great Muslims of this great country into as they did for the Japanese-Americans back during the World War II. Like after December 7th when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese army.
No, that's not what we're asking. He's simply saying for those that are wanting to come into this country we need to have a tighter grip, we need -- we need to halt all immigrants that are coming from that -- that could be potentially Islamic terrorists.
Let's weed out who are really part of the wonderful, wonderful faith of the Islamic faith and isolate the terrorists that are also coming in and being weeded in.
Remember, I don't think not one Muslim, American, who is in America right now wants to die because of a Jihadist terrorist that will use, them as a human shield or use them to make a point of ISIS here in America.
I don't think not one Muslim wants to see that happen. So, again, this is not about the wonderful faith of Islam.
BURNS: This is simply a statement saying this is a temporary solution to make America safer again from those who do -- who want to do us harm.
LEMON: Pastor Mark Burns, thank you. I appreciate your time this evening here on CNN. Joining me now is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, he's a chairman of the Cardona initiative, excuse me, and the author of "Defining Islamic Statehood."
I appreciate you joining us. What did you make of the -- what the last man. He said this is not about, you know, the great people who are Muslims in this country, you know, who practice Islam already. This is about weeding out terrorism. There is a distinction, according to him.
FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, THE CORDOBA INITIATIVE CHAIRMAN: Well, first of all, we all share the distinction; we all share the need to combat terrorism. Muslims are the number one victims, the primary victims of terrorism. ISIS has killed more Muslims than they've killed non- Muslims. Not to say that they're not equally bad, but we have been the primary victims of this.
The issue I find is that they are working under a flawed narrative. That's like saying, you know, to prevent Columbine from happening again, let's close down temporary all schools and all colleges so, you know, kids who shoot other kids, that doesn't happen. That narrative doesn't work. The issue I have with this, I have
several issues with this. Number one, it fits in to ISIS narrative. ISIS wants to create a conflict.
LEMON: Well, the difference when you would say let's, you know, ban all young white kids from schools, that wouldn't be the same as shutting down schools and universities.
RAUF: Well, I mean, yes.
LEMON: But the people who are -- who are used to, who we see as doing this, that profilers say do this most often.
LEMON: Who do banning, you know, most 21 to whatever your whites been doing from these schools...
RAUF: Fine. Now that's not the way to solve it. You don't solve things that way. And this issue has many components to it. Yes, there is a military aspect to it, there is an economic aspect to it, there's a law enforcement aspect to it, but there is also an ideology aspect to it. And that's what this book that we've worked on.
Because we need to combat ISIS' ideology. And to define what a true Islamic state means, which is about justice, protection of human life, protection of religion, production of property, protection of all the things that everybody wants.
LEMON: All right. So, the question is, as an imam, how do you combat that ideology? I know your book is about defining the Islamic state, right, that you just -- you showed me.
LEMON: But how do you combat that kind of ideology?
RAUF: Well, you have to combat it by messaging it and by getting more and more scholars. This is an international group of Muslim scholars who agreed on how to define an Islamic from the point of view of our law.
The fact to the matter is, there's a lot of confusion out there in the marketplace of ideas. People don't know these things and we need to make this -- we need to work together. Because the battlefront, Don, is not between Muslims and America or Muslims and Christians, Muslims and Jews, which is how certain people, have configured the nature of conflict.
It's really the conflicts between moderate of all faith traditions against the extremists of all faith religions. Extremist on one, a few extremist on the other. LEMON: So, would you -- here is what I think many Americans who would
say is that they understand that it is a not a majority of Muslims or Islam, right, who, that's having this.
[22:15:01] But there is a substantial enough minority that it is dangerous and that they have a huge concern about it. Would you say that that's fair?
RAUF: That is fair certainly. And we are just as concerned about these acts of terrorism and we have to work together to combat them. But you need Muslims to help you combat this. So, you can't do it without Muslims involved.
America has relationships, has interest in the Middle East who are at majority some countries, we have geopolitical interest, some military bases, we have so many interest in this region. And many of these issues really are less to do with issues of religion than they are to do with issues of geopolitics and things of that nature.
LEMON: If you had the opportunity, Imam, to sit down with Donald Trump or someone like Donald Trump, would you do it?
RAUF: I'd be happy to.
LEMON: What would you say to him? What How would you start this conversation?
RAUF: I'll tell him -- I'll tell him, Mr. Donald Trump, your procedure is a losing proposition.
RAUF: He doesn't like to want to be a loser. You want to have a winning proposition, a winning, we can help you craft a winning strategy on how to get Muslims to work with you to send the message to ISIS that we do not support you, that your model on Islamic state is not -- you're actually an anti-Islamic state, you are not -- you are not preaching the true gospel of what Islam teaches.
LEMON: Yes. Imam, thank you.
RAUF: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: I appreciate your expertise.
RAUF: My pleasure.
LEMON: And your insight on this. Thank you very much.
I need to tell you that Donald Trump will join our Chris Cuomo tomorrow morning CNN's New Day, 7 o'clock Eastern Time. Tomorrow morning on New Day Donald Trump will join Chris Cuomo. Make sure you tune in. Up next, more on Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the country. How would he ever implement that policy? A spokeswoman for his campaign is among those joining me next.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calling tonight to block all Muslims from entering the United States.
Joining me is Katrina Pierson, the national spokeswoman for Trump's campaign, Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian, Mercedes Schlapp, republican strategist, and Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of terror."
Good to have all of you. Katrina, I'm going to start with you. As a national spokeswoman for Trump's campaign, how would Trump implement his ban on Muslims entering the United States? Are there any policy specifics behind this that you know of?
KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN: Well, I think we should probably clear up one thing, Don. Do you actually have the statement that was sent out in front of you today?
LEMON: I have the statement. The statement where he says all people enter -- all Muslims entering the United States and then later he...
PIERSON: OK. Could you just give me a quick -- could you give me favor and read the subject line?
LEMON: Well, that's why I have you there. Go ahead and explain to me what you're saying.
PIERSON: Now I would like for you to read to your viewers what the subject line is. You have it in front of you I don't have it in front of me.
LEMON: OK. I don't have the subject, but go ahead. Just go ahead.
PIERSON: The subject line reads that Donald Trump...
LEMON: You said the subject line. I have to think -- I have to think if you're talking about where he talks about Donald J. Trump's statement on preventing Muslims from enter -- preventing Muslim immigration. So, I understand that.
PIERSON: Immigration. That's the key term.
LEMON: Ok. But hang on, Katrina.
PIERSON: But from my understanding the bad... LEMON: Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, stop Katrina. Stop Katrina.
PIERSON: Hold on, Don. Hold on, Don. You guys are doing it again. You're doing it again.
LEMON: Please, stop or I'm going to stop you off.
PIERSON: You're doing it again. You're doing it again.
LEMON: No, we're not doing it again. You're asking me to read...
PIERSON: Yes, you are.
LEMON: No, we're not. I'm not -- I'm very fair. So, Katrina, don't -- don't pull that with me. You're asking me to read a subject.
PIERSON: You're saying he banned complete all Muslims.
LEMON: Would you let me finish, Katrina? Please, OK?
LEMON: You're asking me to read a subject line. That is sa headline.
PIERSON: That's right.
LEMON: That is a cover. That is not the substance of what he's saying. It goes on to say a lot more than what the headline is. It says a total and complete shutdown of all Muslims entering the United States. That is what I'm asking you to read...
PIERSON: In this context of immigration.
LEMON: ... in the context of immigration. Yes. And so, I'm asking you that. How does one implement that? What does that headline that you're asking me, that we're going back and forth about arguing about, what does that doing for the substance?
I'm asking you about policy. How would this policy be implemented? That has nothing to do with a headline, that has nothing to do with a subject line, but is simply has to do with what the subject...
PIERSON: Well, it has everything to do with the headline, Don.
LEMON: No, it doesn't. I want you...
PIERSON: But the policies -- but here's the thing.
LEMON: It has to do with...
PIERSON: The policy are very simple. The same policy that's being discussed in Congress.
LEMON: I'm asking you, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, let me finish. How would he implement this policy?
PIERSON: The same policies that are being discussed in Congress as we speak. Halting the refugee program, which still can be done by defunding it in the Omnibus bill.
Also, stopping the visa waiver program temporarily and halting all immigration coming from Arab nations right now until we figure out what's going on, Don. This is not a complete ban on all Muslims coming into the country. This is pertaining to immigration. That's why it's in the subject and that's the context.
LEMON: The thing says a total and complete ban of all Muslims entering the United States, Katrina.
PIERSON: Under the banner of immigration. That's what it says. Why are we not -- why are we not getting that?
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Katrina, why don't you rewrite the statement? Because it really is clearly saying about...
LEMON: You're arguing something that's not there, Katrina. But go ahead, Mercedes.
SCHLAPP: I mean, maybe you should like become the press secretary for Donald Trump and rewrite the statement, Katrina. Because the way he's talking about it, the way it's stated in the statement is a complete ban on Muslims entering into the country. It would have been more effective if you would have been a...
PIERSON: The subject line of the statement is immigration.
SCHLAPP: ... wait, wait, wait. Yes. So, guess what if it's about immigration, then let's talk about immigration. Let's talk about securing the border. Let's talk about revamping...
PIERSON: Then let's talk about that.
SCHLAPP: ... our bases system. Absolutely. But he doesn't do that. He goes straight to attacking a group of individuals. Instead of staying focused on the border, instead of staying focused on revamping the visa system. And so, he creates this inflammatory statement that is like throwing a boulder in a pot.
PIERSON: Mr. Trump isn't attacking anybody.
LEMON: Corey Lewandowski says it applies to everyone, Katrina. He says it applies to everyone. He is the official spokesperson, he is saying...
(CROSSTALK) PIERSON: Immigrants, yes, immigrants.
LEMON: He said it would also apply to tourists, as well. He told CNN that today.
PIERSON: Tourist visas, absolutely, Don. One of the 9/11 hijackers came in on a tourist visa. Some of these guys were only here for only here for six months on visa. So, yes, the visa program in general...
LEMON: That's not immigrants.
PIERSON: We have to look at it.
LEMON: That's not immigrant.
PIERSON: But you asked me for policy. I gave you Policy. Policies are the visa program, the visa waiver program, the K1 visa, which we just saw what happened in San Bernardino. All of these things when we are bringing in immigrants. Here is the thing.
Never in United States history has an American administration allowed insurgence into the country and the problem we have here is this administration isn't just allowing it, they are leading the effort in financing it and Americans have a serious problem with that, Don.
[22:25:04] LEMON: OK. You're going beyond the statement that we're talking about. But go ahead, Michael, weigh in.
MICHAEL WEISS, THE DAILY BEAST SENIOR EDITOR: Me?
WEISS: Well, I really don't know where to begin with this. I think Donald Trump is sort of a New York City taxi driver whose car you never hope to accidentally hail. This is a guy at 4 o'clock in the morning, the drunk guy at the end of the bar who is discussing a politics and it's succeeding in American context.
He didn't just say a ban on all Muslim immigration. He also said Muslim-Americans when asked by The Hill, the publication The Hill. Muslim-Americans they said, would you bar them from re-entering the country if they were abroad. He said everybody.
It's rare and few, Don, to find an American politician who actually campaigns on violating the Constitution as a political promise. That is what this man has done.
And by the way, forget about the un-American, you know, sort of importance of what he has done. That violating the core values of this country. From a national security perspective...
WEISS: ... this press statement could be reproduced in Dabiq 13, the ISIS propaganda magazine. This is exactly what the terrorist organization wants the U.S. to do. Drive a wedge between Muslims and the West and make -- make the choice one of two. You're either with us or you're with the group.
LEMON: So, he did say all Muslims, right, entering, but he didn't clarify on Fox. He said that to The Hill but later clarified on Fox. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX'S ON THE RECORD SHOW HOST: There are Americans serving in our military who are Muslims who are overseas on bases. Do you apply this rule to them?
TRUMP: No. They would come home. They would be able to -- anybody here stays, but we have to be very vigilant. There are a lot of bad things going on. When you look at these polling numbers that came out, there is tremendous hatred, there is tremendous animosity.
And that's -- this have taken of people living in our country, from Muslims living in our country, which is amazing. Because I have Muslim friends, Greta, and they're wonderful people. But there's a tremendous section and cross-section of Muslims living in our country who have tremendous animosity. We can't let this happen. We have a country to protect.
SUSTEREN: Does it apply to your friends? This is apply to your Muslim friends, this...
TRUMP: No. Of course...
SUSTEREN: ... complete shutdown?
TRUMP: ... this applies, this does not apply to people living in the country except that we have to be vigilant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, I want you to weigh in on this. What do you make of this?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think Trump is proving, yet again, to be a diabolical person to even suggest such a thing. It's beyond the pale -- we've had fear mongering in American history, a plenty. But if you say like a radio priest Father Coughlin back in the 1930's or some of the John Birch society people, but not somebody who is leading the Republican Party, the grand party of Abraham Lincoln.
And I think Reince Preibus now has to interject himself and distance the brand of the GOP from Donald Trump. I think you already have people in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and the Republican Party leaders starting to do that.
And all of the republicans running for president have denounced Trump. I think you need to almost sign a pledge that they want nothing to do with this kind of crazy, hate-filled xenophobia that Trump is spewing out in the public airways.
LEMON: Yes. OK. I want everybody to stand by. But Katrina, I want to tell you, if you're going to come on, I need you to be honest with your thoughts and with your statement and with the American people.
PIERSON: I was very honest. I was very honest. It's not being recorded correctly.
LEMON: No, you're not being -- hang on. You're not being honest because arguing about semantics and you're arguing about what's in it so whatever is taking...
PIERSON: Context is important, Don.
LEMON: ... instead of taking a whole point. I think that you are deflecting to the American people.
PIERSON: Context is important.
LEMON: Context is very important and that's what I'm trying to tell you now. You take in full context Donald Trump's full statements and stop arguing about something that you think is a headline. The headline does not tell the whole story, as you well know, because you have argued that before on this very...
PIERSON: That was my point.
LEMON: ... your point was that the headline was correct but the body of what he said was wrong. And that is now right...
PIERSON: No. The news headlines are incorrect.
LEMON: The news headlines are not incorrect. He said what he said. He did not say only what was in the subject line of his statement. All right. We'll be right back, everyone. We'll continue to talk about it.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:00] LEMON: We're back with the discussion of Donald Trump acknowledging tonight that he's called to block all Muslims from entering the United States is not politically correct, but he says he doesn't really care.
So, back with me now, Katrina Pierson, Douglas Brinkley, Mercedes Schlapp, and Michael Weiss. To you first, Mercedes, here is what Eric Fehrnstrom, who is a former Mitt Romney -- aid to Mitt Romney, tweeted, he said "Sad but true, GOP had an attitude towards Muslims are very low, especially among white Evangelical protestants.
Do you think he's doing this to appeal to Evangelical voters on the day that this Monmouth poll came out that shows him Cruz beating him or the CNN poll that Cruz is strong -- is a strong second place contender?
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. I think this is what Donald Trump believes. I mean, I think that he has very much a sense of describing his immigration policy through the lens of talking about the Muslim community, unfortunately, and it's playing into the hands of the democrat narrative, trying to call us to the GOP islamophobes (ph).
And so, it's very unfortunate. I don't -- I think obviously he's looking at Cruz and saying that he's picking up support with the Evangelical voters, but at the end, I think this is what Trump believes and he's going to continue moving forward on it despite the fact that it's unrealistic and quite frankly, a radical policy.
LEMON: Katrina, I want to -- the GOP chairs are talking about, the GOP folks are talking as well. The GOP chairs in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina are distancing themselves from Trump's statement tonight.
Jennifer Horn is New Hampshire's GOP chair said the idea is un- republican, it is unconstitutional, and it is un-American. South Carolina's GOP chair. Matt Moore tweeted this, "As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump's bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine."
So, those are most are importantly, probably the most important early primary states. Is it possible that Donald Trump has finally gone too far, Katrina?
KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN: I don't think so. And I think Mercedes is right. You know, he's not pandering to anyone and it is politically incorrect, Don, but when you look at what we have surrounding us today, look at what political correctness has got us.
[22:35:04] And it's never been the American way to usher in terrorism. We just heard the FBI director Comey say, there's no way to vet these refugees. We just heard the Homeland Security chairman say that they know the counterterrorism units says that we have radicals inside the refugee system.
We have a thousand active cases and 72 people that work at DHS are on the terror watch list. At some point, we have to take a step back and figure out what are we going to do here. Because at the end of the day, Donald Trump didn't create ISIS, Obama and Hillary Clinton did, and they weaponries them. And that's why we're here today.
LEMON: So, Obama and Hillary Clinton created ISIS, Michael Weiss?
MICHAEL WEISS, THE DAILY BEAST SENIOR EDITOR: Wow. I mean, I heard a lot in my time and I'm written a book on ISIS, I haven't heard quite that one. That sounds like something the Islamic Republic of Iran would put out there. Look, the bottom line, Don, is this, we're in a very dark period I
think in American history. I never thought I would say this. I lived in Europe for three years. All the condescension, all this sort of the wrinkled nostril kind of criticism of our political system.
What's to choose? Democrat and republican, its sort two sides of the same far end of the conservative spectrum. The rejoinder to that used to be, well, yes, but we don't elect Stalinists or fascios (ph) to our political system.
Now I'm worried that we're sort of not quite where France or Great Britain maybe, but we're tending in this direction. You know, the idea it can't happen here, the hell it can't. This sounds, to me, I mean, this is beyond xenophobia.
When you're running for national office and you're the leader of the GOP nomination or the leader of the GOP primary race and you're basically saying we need a national registration for all Muslims, we must ban immigration on the basis of a religious test...
PIERSON: Which he didn't say.
WEISS: I'm sorry, but this is -- this is beyond far right. This is a poujadiste demagogic hysteria and it need to come to an end. And I can only hope, I mean, I think that Katrina is quite right. I don't think he's gone far enough. I think he will keep pushing this envelope. I don't think necessarily he believes it.
I consider him a postmodern politician. Whatever he thinks will get him ahead or push him forward in the polls, he will throw at us. But eventually, I think Americans are going to be fed up with this, I hope.
WEISS: I mean, this is my optimistic clause in the situation. But I've never heard anything like this.
LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, some are saying that this is a gift to democrats, and especially the president. Because the president's speech last night, he was criticized by many on the right and on the left by not, you know, saying that he wasn't passionate enough. But I believe you say it's a gold star moment. Do you think it's a gift or do you think -- what do you think about this?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think, you know, Donald Trump is worried about his poll numbers. I think Ted Cruz is the rising star among conservatives and Trump likes to control the news cycle. Here we are, spending the evening talking about him and this would have been an evening people would have talked about why Barack Obama didn't do as well as he should have last night on his speech to the nation.
So, Trump is the albatross around the neck of the Republican Party. I don't know what they're going to do with him. He really is a third party candidate running within the republican family. And he's going rogue in such extreme ways that it's hard to even put an analogy to him.
But, you know, we've got to remember since 9/11, both the George W. Bush administration, and the Barack Obama administration, people that work Homeland Security and TSA, and work every day hard to try to make America safe and they get most of the bad guys.
That one -- a couple slipped through in San Bernardino, it's awful, tragic, we're sick and we need to do more. But let's not act like America is not fighting in the war on terror and that we aren't doing a credible job of making our homeland safe.
Both Bush and Obama and our whole country has been working hard to make it safe. Trump minimizes everything because all he does is wants to paint a picture of utter fear and people are buying into his brand for the moment. But I think saner minds will prevail in the end.
LEMON: Fascinating conversation, to say the least. Do you guys agree?
PIERSON: I think yes.
BRINKLEY: It was good. Don, you were...
SCHLAPP: Never a dull moment.
BRINKLEY: ... you were strong.
LEMON: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. We'll get reaction from Muslims when we come right back.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump calling for a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States.
Joining me now is Saba Ahmed, the president of the Muslim Republican Coalition, and Dean Obeidallah, columnist for The Daily Beast.
Saba, you first. I want to get your reaction to Donald Trump's call for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. What are your thoughts?
SABA AHMED, MUSLIM REPUBLICAN COALITION PRESIDENT: It's illegal, unconstitutional, and a blatant discrimination against Muslim- Americans and Muslims worldwide. I think he needs to go back and get some lawyers to give him some constitutional law lessons on religious freedoms and religious liberties.
It's very offensive. And I think, you know, Republican Party is supposed to be about religious freedoms and faith, values. But I don't think he's very well-versed on the Constitution. LEMON: So, as a republican, you don't support that?
AHMED: No. I think Republican Party stands for religious freedoms of everyone and, you know, traditional family values and traditional stances on faith is a huge component of the republican broader base.
LEMON: Many of the candidates came out, you know, condemning his comments. Do you think that most republicans are doing enough to condemn...
AHMED: I think republican leadership is condemning Trump's comments and, as we will see during the upcoming campaign season, we have a whole year to go before the election. I'm sure there will be several condemnations of such types of rhetoric. He's sending a very wrong message to the world that a presidential candidate can be so full of hate and anger against a religious group.
I think there is seven million Muslim-American voters here in this country that could probably help him win if he was to tone down his rhetoric there. He's alienating and democrats are more than happy to take our votes.
And as you saw yesterday, President Obama talked about in his speech, he was the best in defending Muslim-Americans. And if he wants to have any chance of winning the White House, he needs to tone down his rhetoric and reach out to Muslim-Americans.
[22:45:04] LEMON: Would you -- would you support him if he toned down his rhetoric as a Muslim?
AHMED: I mean, he has good business skills. If he were to help fix the budget or the federal government -- we have serious economic challenges in our country. If he was to use his strength to focus on the real issues facing America, I think he could be a good candidate.
LEMON: That is...
AHMED: But he's just making absurd comments every other day about one group after another, it's just ridiculous, like women, Mexicans, Muslims.
AHMED: I mean...
LEMON: But I think, Saba, I think it's interesting that you said that, you know, he has good business skills and that you would support him if he tone his rhetoric. I mean, Dean, I was going to say to you that, you know, she's saying that GOP leaders are, you know -- a lot of GOP leaders.
But the reverend that I had on earlier saying listen, I think that these are the conversations that people are having privately and Donald Trump is just voicing them.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, THE DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: It could be. But I think the job of a real leader, as a political leader is to set a tone. And if you're going to set a tone that Muslims are not like the rest of us. He was at event tonight saying ridiculous things about a poll that's completely -- we can talk about it later. It's scary. He's fear mongering. You know, there's a spike in hate crime against Muslim members...
LEMON: What he's saying is, he's not saying that I don't think he's saying that Muslims are not like us. He said I don't know if Muslims are like us. No, no, no, no, listen. But if you're listen to what he's saying is like...
OBEIDALLAH: Sure, sure.
LEMON: ... unless that last line. Until we figure out what's going on. I don't know if they're like us, maybe they are, maybe they're not, but until we figure it out, we need to...
OBEIDALLAH: But he's called for warrantless searches and surveillance of Muslim Americans, which means because of our faith? We get less liberties and less rights, closing down mosques in America. You haven't heard that anywhere else.
It's a scary time. This -- watching that speech today -- tonight was bone chilling. I'm not kidding you, it was alarming to me. I fear for young Muslims growing up who don't even have jobs. We know, despite in hate crime, and that kind of words inspires violence. And I'm not kidding; legitimizing hate and it can inspire violence.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much. Coming up, hard line republicans are coming out against Trump. That's next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Has Donald Trump finally gone too far? His latest comments possibly causing a wedge in the Republican Party.
Hugh Hewitt is here, one of the highlights of my week. He's the host of the Hugh Hewitt show.
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HUGH HEWITT SHOW HOST: Hey, Don.
LEMON: Hugh, good to have you. Especially on this evening when we have this from Donald Trump. He wants to ban all Muslims from traveling into this country. Some of the reactions from fellow republicans, really the reactions have been scathing. What are you hearing?
HEWITT: Well, I advised President Cheney on my program tonight and the Vice President not specifically referring to Donald Trump rejected the policy that Donald Trump put forward. And I think tomorrow morning's broadcast on New Day when Chris Cuomo talks to Donald Trump may be the highest rated New Day ever.
Because I'll be turning in early to find out what Chris, he's a very expert and skilled inquisitor ask Donald Trump about what he meant in the nuances about. I know that next week's debate on Tuesday night got more complicated and more interesting today.
LEMON: Hey, don't get ahead of me. We're going to talk about that. But let's -- and you're right, I think it's going to be fascinating tomorrow. But let's listen to what Dick Cheney said to you today which you just referenced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think this whole notion that somehow we need to say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we -- where we came from. A lot of people, you know, my ancestors got here because they were Puritans. There wasn't anybody here then when they came. But it's a mistake in notion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: This is one of the bold names really of the Republican Party, he is known to be a hard liner. So, again, my question is, is Donald -- is this even too far for Donald Trump?
HEWITT: Well, I don't know. We'll find out as the days go on what people react and how he refines and extends his remarks. You know, Dick Cheney has worked very closely with all sort of Muslim leaders around the world, King Hussein.
He mentioned later tonight at a conversation we had at Colorado Christian University, his conversation with King Fahad at the time of the Gulf War. He knows that Indonesia and Malaysia are Muslim countries that we rely upon for Freedom of the Seas.
he know we got a lot of Muslim allies. So, Vice President Cheney has a very nuance and deep understanding of America's relationship with the Muslim world.
And I think tomorrow when Chris Cuomo talks to Donald Trump, there will be some good questions to be asked and answers. Thus far, no one in the republican primary has sided with Donald Trump on this. So, that's the opinion so far...
LEMON: Does Donald Trump have the kind of understanding that you just referenced? HEWITT: I don't know. We'll find out on Tuesday night's debate, there
would be questions that will dive into that. But I'm pledged, as is Wolf, as is Dana, and as you Don, to impartiality when it comes to the candidates and ask them to explain at length and in detail.
And if I were CNN -- and I'm not -- so, it's up to you Jeff Zeleny, I mean, to figure this out tomorrow, I would blow out a whole hour and give it to Chris Cuomo and Donald Trump to explore this because we had a terrorist attack in California last week, in my backyard.
And the Center for Security Policies poll, which has been online since June of last year -- and by the way, I have to correct Jeff Zeleny. Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy are not a hate group. The Southern Poverty Law Center almost got people killed two years ago, when they labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group.
And I reject the idea that we should be using these terms broadly, rapidly or irresponsibly. I think tomorrow, Chris has his work cut out for him to get Donald Trump to expand upon and be very precise what did he mean? What did he have in mind?
And I think that conversation will continue through to Tuesday and I intend to be fair and I think we all ought to be fair and let him speak for himself.
LEMON: OK. Good. That was my next question, if you think by then -- because you know -- you know, in this whole Donald Trump age, right, this presidential age that when he's running that he can change the conversation, which he did, about immigration, when he talked about Mexicans, when he did about Muslims and terrorism, whatever.
He does have a way of sorting turning saying these things that many people find outrageous, whether you think it is or not, and he sort of leads the conversation with him -- with them.
I think by Tuesday, you think by Tuesday this will still be a huge topic worth delving into for a long time at the debate?
[22:55:03] HEWITT: No, I think the issue of terror in America, who do we let into America, given the example of what happened in San Bernardino, is a huge issue.
Obviously, what we believe now is that the woman of the terrorist pair was a black widow, was sent here with that intention, that she came here to kill Americans. And we have to make sure that the system does not allow for repetition of that.
And so, does he refine and extend his remarks in such a way as to persuade people, he had nothing other than that in mind? We'll find out. He'll be on with Chris tomorrow morning. And I mean, I'm going to get up to watch that because I want to know what he means.
At the same time, we have many millions of American Muslims who cannot feel threatened in their homes, who can -- who are protected by constitutional rights. We have tens of millions -- hundreds of millions of Muslim allies around the world who hate having their religion hijacked by these extremists, as Michael Weiss describes in his book "ISIS." So, we'll see tomorrow morning.
LEMON: Yes. We'll see. And as you say, give them an hour. That's not up to me. That's up to Donald Trump and Chris and Jeff. Because let's see if he hangs on long enough for an hour. Who knows? I think Chris can handle himself for an hour.
LEMON: I would -- I think that that could happen. Thank you, Hugh. I appreciate it.
HEWITT: Thank you, Don. Always a pleasure.
LEMON: Ahead in our next hour, the FBI says the San Bernardino killers were not only radicalized, but had been for some time. The latest on the investigation. That's next.