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Washington (CNN)Donald Trump said his Muslim friends are “so happy” he is discussing the issue of Islamic fundamentalism — but they do not support his proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S., he acknowledged.
“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 told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.”
“They support a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.?” Tapper asked.
“No, they said it’s about time that somebody spoke up as to radicalism,” Trump responded. “You have radicalism in this country. It’s here, and it’s trying to come through.”
Trump continued to emphasize his Muslim friends’ concern about terrorism.
“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,'” he said.
“But they don’t support the ban?” Tapper asked.
“Not really. I mean, why would they support the ban?” Trump answered. “But without the ban, you’re not going to make the point. You’re not going to be able to make the point.”
Trump said he’s been told he’s doing Muslims “a favor.”
“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,” he said.
But Trump’s Muslim friends aren’t the only people who oppose the temporary ban against Muslims.
A majority of U.S. adults oppose Donald Trump’s plan to ban all Muslims from entering the country, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
And shortly after Trump’s proposal, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined other world leaders in condemning the plan.
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Trump canceled a planned trip to Israel to meet with Netanyahu following the prime minister’s response. But Trump denied that world leaders are “distancing themselves” from him.
“I saw Netanyahu put out a statement distancing himself from you,” Tapper said.
“They’re not distancing themselves. I had a meeting with Natanyahu. I could be at the meeting right now,” Trump said.
“But he condemned your remarks is all I’m saying,” Tapper replied.
“He did, 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 also said he wants to discover why terrorists have “total hatred” for the U.S.
“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?” he asked.
“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?”
“We have to know the answer, or we’re never going to have a safe country,” Trump added.