Washington, Dec 16: The anti-Muslim rhetoric unleashed by leading Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is against the American values and constitution, the White House has said.
"It certainly is a principle and a value statement that runs in direct conflict to not just the President's priorities, but also to the values that are essential to the founding of this nation," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
Trump's popularity has soared after his last week's statement that Muslims be banned from entering the country. Earlier, he had called for surveillance of mosques. Both his statements drew sharp reactions from all political parties. The White House said such remarks disqualified Trump from being the president of the US.
"This nation was founded by people who were fleeing persecution, and looking for a place where they could freely practise their religion. This is basic to what it means to be an American. It's quite clear to me that those kinds of comments, and in some cases, those policy positions that are shared by some of the Republican candidates for president - it's not just Mr Trump alone, but other people in his party, who are advocating the kinds of things that stand in stark contrast to the basic founding values of this country," Earnest said.
He said that's disappointing, it certainly is divisive. It's a little cynical. Referring to the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Earnest said it's important for people to recognise that the chief aim of the violent extremists is to try to terrorise people and to instill fear in them, and to provoke an overreaction.
"That is their most effective weapon, and it's why the President has, time and again, reiterated his commitment to ensuring that we're not gonna give in to fear.
We're not going to give in to terrorism. We're not going to allow the actions of violent extremists to instill fear all across the countryside.
"It doesn't mean we're not gonna be vigilant, because we surely are. We've talked quite a bit in the last few days about the significant and serious steps this administration has taken to both countering violent extremism and, in the case of ISIL, building an international coalition to destroy them," Earnest added.