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By Mark Niquette
(Bloomberg) — During a raucous rally in South Carolina on Monday night, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump expanded on his calls to temporarily prevent Muslims from entering the U.S., drawing cheers from the crowd.
Despite near universal condemnation from his presidential rivals of both parties, Trump defended the statement he released earlier in the day in which he made the case that Muslims represented a security threat to America. “We can’t let people kill us,” Trump told supporters who had gathered at the USS Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier turned museum located in the town of Mount Pleasant.
“You’re going to have more World Trade Centers,” Trump said, a reference to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, on Sept. 11, 2001. “We can be politically correct or we can be stupid, but it’s going to get worse and worse.”
In part, Trump’s warning stemmed from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California, which the billionaire argued in his statement justified his plan to halt Muslims from entering the country “until we are able to determine and understand this problem.”
Speaking in South Carolina, Trump repeated the disputed statistics he cited earlier today about Muslims supporting violence against America and said, “we’re out of control.”
“We have no idea who’s coming into our country,” he said. “We have no idea they love us or they hate us. We have no idea they want to bomb us.”
Other 2016 presidential candidates criticized Trump’s statement today, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush calling the real estate mogul “unhinged” and Ohio Governor John Kasich condemning what he called Trump’s “outrageous divisiveness.”
Trump was interrupted several times by protesters who were drowned out by chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “USA! USA!” from the standing-room only crowd of several hundred who cheered as the dissenters were escorted out.
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