Donald Trump singled out people who were not Christian conservatives at a campaign rally in Iowa on Wednesday afternoon, jokingly asking the audience, “should we keep them in the room?”
The comment, which Trump made in jest, came as Trump was applauding a Christian conservative group for supporting him. “We have our Christian Conservatives for Trump today, and they're in the room. Let's go. That's what we want. That's beautiful,” Trump said, holding up a sign a pro-Trump group uses.
He then asked rallygoers to raise their hands if they were Christian conservatives — before asking non-Christian conservatives to do so as well, and a few raised their hands.
The moment drew immediate scorn from critics.
“Raise your hand, Christian conservatives, everybody. Raise your hand if you're not a Christian conservative. I want to see this, right. Oh, there's a couple people, that's all right,” Trump said smiling, waving his hand in the air. “I think we’ll keep them. Should we keep them in the room? Yes? I think so.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations blasted Trump on Wednesday evening.
“Given Mr. Trump’s history of targeting religious and ethnic minorities, it is disturbing that he would single out non-Christians during his rally in Iowa. It is clear that his vision of America is one of division and exclusion, not unity and acceptance," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in a statement.
This story has been updated.