Former vice president Dick Cheney was one of many who condemned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.
“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in,” Cheney told Hugh Hewitt on Hewitt’s conservative radio show Monday. “I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from. A lot of people, my ancestors got here, because they were Puritans.” He added: “There wasn’t anybody here then when they came,” leaving him open to criticism for dismissing the existence of Native Americans.
Cheney then made the case for re-invading parts of the Middle East to destroy the Islamic State, which he referred to by the acronym “ISIS.”
“What’s going on in the Middle East is the result of a U.S. vacuum,” Cheney said. “It’s the result of the rise of ISIS, civil war in Syria. I’ve heard proposals that I think make sense that we ought to establish safety zones, if you will, in the northern part of Syria where you’ve got them secured, you’ve got sufficient forces, hopefully of locals that would be there to protect, the area, but that’s where people who are fleeing the terrible tragedy that’s going on inside the caliphate, a place where they could reside.”
Pointing out that the Islamic State is “far bigger than al Qaeda ever was by itself,” he added: “I think you have to go back, ultimately, and if you’re going to be successful in ultimately defeating ISIS, and destroy ISIS, which I think has to be your objective, you’re going to have to shut down the caliphate.”
Many remarked on how extreme Trump’s policy was if even Cheney — one of the most hawkish politicians in modern times — targeted it.
“If Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone to [sic] far, then you’re beyond help,” one Twitter user wrote.
After Trump called Monday for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Cheney was just one of many who swiftly criticized or condemned the proposal. Fellow Republican presidential candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) — not to mention Democrats Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — also dismissed the idea.
Many not running for president landed blows as well.
“Even if Donald Trump builds his wall at the Rio Grande, the Internet will pierce it,” former president Bill Clinton said at a private fundraiser for his wife’s campaign, according to a donor in the room, as Politico reported.
“Trump’s worst comments don’t occur in a vacuum — or land without repercussions,” Arianna Huffington wrote at the Huffington Post, noting the website would no longer cover Trump’s campaign as “entertainment.” “They affect the tenor of the conversation, frequently moving the line between what’s considered mainstream and what’s considered unabashedly extreme and unacceptable. So we’ll not only be covering the ways Trump’s campaign is unique in recent American politics, but also the disastrous impact it continues to have on his fellow candidates — and the national conversation.”