In FDR’s Footsteps: Trump Defends His Proposal to Ban Muslims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, calling it a temporary measure in a time of war.

Trump likened his proposal to those implemented by former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt against people of Japanese, German and Italian descent during World War II.

“What I’m doing is no different than FDR,” Trump said on the ABC in one of a round of heated media interviews where he defended the plan he proposed in the wake of last week’s radical Muslim terror attack in California.

“We have no choice but to do this,” the candidate seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race told ABC. “We have people that want to blow up our buildings, our cities. We have figure out what’s going on.”

Critics have said his plan rejects American values by singling out people solely based on their religion.

Fellow Republican candidates as well as Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia have denounced the plan. Two international organizations, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration refugee agency, also oppose it.

Trump’s was the most dramatic response by a presidential candidate, although other Republicans have called for a suspension to U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to welcome 10,000 refugees from Syria.

On Tuesday, Trump reiterated that the plan would be temporary, telling ABC that the ban would only last until Congress acts on the issue. He also said that an American citizen who is Muslim would be allowed back into the country after an overseas trip.

Although Trump wants to implement some elements of Roosevelt’s domestic wartime policy, he noted that he did not support internment camps, where Americans of ‘enemy descent’ were imprisoned in the U.S. during World War II.”I don’t want to bring them back at all,” Trump stated.

Trump added that his immigration ban proposal had met with “tremendous support” from thousands of people who “just want to see something happen.”