Donald Trump, the leading US Republican presidential candidate, takes his anti-Muslim rhetoric to a whole new level, saying there is "something nasty" coming out of Islam.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, Trump was asked by panelist John Heilemann if Islam was “an inherently violent religion?”
“It could be answered both ways, but there’s something going on there. There’s something, there’s a lot of hatred coming out at least a big part of it. You see the hatred, I mean, we see it every day,” Trump responded.
The billionaire businessman cited the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York to back up his inflammatory claims about Muslims and their faith.
“There’s something, there’s something nasty coming out of there. And you can answer it any way you want. But at least we know the problem,” he said.
The GOP front-runner also refused to take back his unsubstantiated claim that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in the state of New Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
“I’m not saying everybody,” Trump said. “But there’s a large percentage of people that … went wild and were celebrating all over the world. I think people have to recognize it. And if you don’t recognize it, then we’re never going to solve the problem. But there were a large number of people who celebrated the downing of the World Trade Center.”
In a phone interview with NBC's "Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump insisted that he was "100 percent right" about Muslim celebrations of the 9/11 attacks. "Why wouldn't it have taken place? I've had hundreds of people call in and tweet in on Twitter, saying that they saw it."
When pressed by Chuck Todd, host of the weekly show, that “truthfulness matters” for someone who is running for the president of the United States, Trump said, "Take it easy, Chuck. Just play cool."
During a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump claimed that not only Muslims in New Jersey, but Muslims across the world celebrated the fall of the Twin Towers. “Worldwide, the Muslims were absolutely going wild,” he said.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, said that if a Muslim celebration “had happened, I would remember it."
Trump’s fiery comments are causing party rivals to step up attacks against him and some conservatives to label him a "fascist."
The White House hopeful drew strong criticism earlier this month for saying that he would require American Muslims to register in a database.
Trump’s support among likely Republican voters fell by 12 points in less than a week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, released on Friday. The decline in popularity is the biggest since Trump leapt to the top of the crowded GOP field in July.