WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's widely reported call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle, but so has his attempt to explain it.
Following a flood of criticism of the comments, including from fellow Republican presidential contenders as those of a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot," Trump took to the airwaves to liken his proposal to the U.S. policy, under President Franklin Roosevelt, toward the Japanese (including Japanese Americans), Germans and Italians during World War II, saying the U.S. is at war.
Talking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump said that under Roosevelt's plan, "they stripped them of their naturalization proceedings. They went through a whole list of things; they couldn't go five miles from their homes. They weren't allowed to use radios, flashlights."
Trump's comment did not sit well with Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
"When Donald Trump proposed to block all Muslims from entering the United States, he referred to Roosevelt's classification of thousands of Japanese, Germans, and Italians during the war as 'enemy aliens' as precedent," Schatz said in a statement emailed to Multichannel News. "This shameful page of our history led to the internment of thousands of Japanese-American families."
He pointed out that President Reagan offered a formal apology for the policy. "We should remember this chapter in history in order to never repeat the same injustice," he said.