At Debate, Trump Calls Out Islam for What It Is, While Rubio and Cruz Issue Weak Responses


At the CNN presidential debate in Miami tonight, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave an unusually wide-ranging denunciation of Islam and Muslims, saying that “a lot of ‘em” hate America.

“I will tell you, there’s something going on that maybe you don’t know about, maybe a lot of other people don’t know about, but there’s tremendous hatred,” Trump said, after he was asked about a comment he made earlier this week that “Islam hates us.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio criticized Trump in his most forceful attack of the night, saying that Trump’s comments would hurt America’s interests by alienating Muslims overseas. Trump stood by it, and expanded with his own criticism of Islam’s treatment of women.

“You can be politically correct if you want. I don’t want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems,” Trump said. “Islam. Large portions want to use very, very harsh means. Let me go a step further. Women are treated horribly. You know that, you do know that.”

That brought an attack from Cruz, who had mocked Trump several times in this debate with caveman-like over-simplifications of policy arguments.

Islamic terrorism was a huge threat, Cruz said, and he blamed President Obama for under-playing and under-estimating the threat. “That is maddening,” Cruz said. “But the answer is not simply to yell, ‘China bad! Muslims bad!’”

Then Cruz turned to an argument that, in essence, Trump’s harsh rhetoric belied his actual policy positions on the Middle East, which Cruz believed were not hard-line enough. For instance, Cruz believed that Trump was not sufficiently pro-Israel, and would give away too much by seeking to be neutral broker in future talks between Israel and Palestinians.

(c) 2016 The Washington Post