Monday 21 May 2018

Trump: 'It's France's own fault that it was attacked'

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Nick Allen

Donald Trump has suggested that the recent terror attacks in France and Germany were the countries' "own fault" and that their citizens could now be subject to "extreme vetting" when entering the United States.

Mr Trump said the two European nations had been "totally compromised by terrorism" because they had "allowed people in".

The Republican presidential nominee also said America could pull out of the World Trade Organization if he is president. "We'll renegotiate or pull out," he said. "These trade deals are a disaster. The World Trade Organization is a disaster."

When asked if his "extreme vetting" policy might lead to "a lot of people from overseas" not being allowed into the US, he said: "Maybe we get to that point. We have to be smart and we have to be vigilant and we have to be strong."

He told NBC News: "Why are we committing suicide? We have problems in Germany and problems in France. It's their own fault because they allowed people to come into their territory. That's why Brexit happened, the UK is saying 'We're tired of this'."

The billionaire originally sparked worldwide outrage in December when he proposed a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in the wake of a terror attack in San Bernardino, California.

His suggestion was condemned as contrary to the US Constitution because it targeted an entire religion.

Mr Trump said he "cherished" the Constitution and had decided instead to focus on visitors arriving from specific countries.

In the NBC interview, Trump also took strong stances on a wide range of issues.

He rejected suggestions that his strategy requiring Nato members to pay their share was a mistake. He also defended Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who left the network amid accusations of sexual harassment.

He criticised rival Hillary Clinton's newly named running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, for accepting gifts while he was Virginia's governor.

He dismissed descriptions of his nomination acceptance speech as "dark", instead calling it "optimistic"; and expressed disapproval of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who is seeking a Senate seat from Louisiana.

Trump reiterated that he wouldn't release his tax returns until an IRS audit is complete, although such an inquiry doesn't bar him from making the documents public. Trump also said he believes 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the election because of a public scrutiny of his taxes.

For months Trump has called for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims seeking to enter the US and criticised the Obama administration for continuing to admit refugees from Syria.

In his speech on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, he said the US "must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place" - notably leaving out any reference to Muslims or to Syria, Iraq and other Middle East nations.

In the NBC interview, Trump noted "specific problems" in Germany and France, and 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd asked if his proposal would limit immigration from France. "They've been compromised by terrorism," Todd said.

Trump replied: "They have totally been. And you know why? It's their own fault. Because they allowed people to come into their territory."

He then called for "extreme vetting" and said: "We have to have tough, we're going to have tough standards.

"If a person can't prove what they have to be able to prove, they're not coming into this country."

Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, played down the potential effects of Trump's call for "extreme vetting" for people coming from France and Germany.

Manafort said the US would have an easier time screening people from those countries because of long-standing "cooperative agreements".

"He is calling for cooperative efforts to make sure that wherever people are coming in, that we know who they are and what they stand for," Manafort said.

Irish Independent

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