Donald Trump hit the talk-show circuit Sunday morning armed with a dizzying display of defiant declarations, double downs and fresh disses.
On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” the Republican frontrunner called for surveillance of U.S. mosques and the creation of a database of Syrian refugees in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris. And Trump again would not rule out creating a registry for all Muslims.
“Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims?” asked Stephanopoulos.
“No, not at all,” Trump said before reiterating his plan for a database to track Syrian refugees accepted into the United States.
“We have no idea who these people are,” Trump said. “When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases.”
Trump said he’s skeptical of statistics that show most of the Syrian refugees flooding into Europe are women and children.
“When I look at the migration and the lines and I see all strong, very powerful looking men, they’re men, and I see very few women, I see very few children, there’s something strange going on,” Trump said.
At a rally in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday, Trump called for the “surveillance of certain mosques if that’s OK.”
“The people that are involved in those mosques, they know who the bad ones are and they know who the good ones are, but they don’t talk,” he said Sunday. “We have to surveil the mosques.”
Trump also said he would “absolutely” bring back waterboarding as a form of interrogation for suspected terrorists.
“I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us,” he said of the controversial technique favored by the Bush administration after 9/11 and later defined as torture. “What they’re doing to us, what [ISIS] did to [American hostage] James Foley when they chopped off his head — that’s a whole different level, and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.”
“They don’t use waterboarding over there,” he noted. “They use chopping off people’s heads.”
Trump defended the unsubstantiated claim he saw “thousands and thousands of people” in New Jersey cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations,” Trump said. “They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down — and that tells you something. It was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
The presidential hopeful appears to be referring to erroneous reports that people in Paterson, N.J., were seen cheering the collapse of the twin towers. While there were images of people in parts the Middle East cheering the attacks, there is no evidence that similar celebrations took place in New Jersey.
“It did happen. I saw it,” Trump said. “It was on television.”
At Trump’s rally in Birmingham, a Black Lives Matter activist who interrupted his speech was reportedly punched, kicked and tackled by several of the candidate’s supporters.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN that “the campaign does not condone this behavior.”
But on “Fox and Friends” Sunday, Trump did not exactly condemn it.
“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said. “He was so obnoxious and so loud. He was screaming. I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday — 10,000 people. And this guy started screaming by himself.”
He added: “This was a very obnoxious guy who was a troublemaker who was looking to make trouble.”