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Trump’s Muslim friends don’t support his immigration ban proposal

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New York: Republican front-runner Donald Trump has said that while his Muslim friends do not support his proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the United States, they are glad the former has broached the issue of Islamic fundamentalism.

Trump made these remarks during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper which was aired on Sunday.

“I have many friends that are Muslims, and I will tell you, they are so happy that I did this because they know they have a problem,” Trump said.

When asked if they (Trump’s Muslim friends) support a ban on Muslims entering the US? Trump said, “No, they said it’s about time that somebody spoke up as to radicalism… You have radicalism in this country. It’s here, and it’s trying to come through.”

Emphasize his Muslim friends’ concern about terrorism, he said, “When my friends call me up, and they call me up very strongly, and they say — these are Muslims — and they say, ‘It’s something, Donald, that has to be talked about.”

“But they don’t support the ban?” the interviewer asked.

“Not really. I mean, why would they support the ban?” Trump replied, adding that “But without the ban, you’re not going to make the point. You’re not going to be able to make the point.”

“Again, my relationship with the Muslim community is excellent. I’ve had people call me at the highest level saying, ‘You’re doing us a favor’ because they know they have a problem very well. They really know they have a problem,” Trump said.

Trump’s proposal to ban the entry of Muslim in the US has drawn flak from various quarters.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even rejected “Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims.” Netanyahu’s statement apparently made Trump to cancel his planned trip to Israel.

When asked about Netanyahu condemnation, Trump said, “They’re not distancing themselves. I had a meeting with Natanyahu. I could be at the meeting right now.”

“He did (condemn my remarks), and that was sort of interesting. He modestly condemned them, and I thought it was sort of inappropriate that he condemned them, but that’s OK. He wanted to condemn them, that’s what he does. OK? But we have a problem,” Trump said.

“I’m not looking to be politically correct. I’m doing this to do the right thing. This and other things. When I say this — I’m running to do the right thing. I’m doing the right thing. Our country has a problem. People are in fear. They’re waiting for the next attack.”

Trump said he wished to discover from where this “total hatred” for the US was emanating and why.

“We want to find out what’s going on. Here’s what I want to ask: Why is there such hatred? Why is there such death? Where does this hatred come from?” Trump asked, adding, “I want to at least know where it’s coming from. Why is it happening? And it’s from a group of people. It’s from a specific group of people. OK? Why is there such total hatred?”

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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

Trump
supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)