Republicans came out of the woodwork Tuesday to denounce Donald Trump's call to block all Muslims from entering the United States.
All Muslims — purely on the basis of their religion. Trump defended his push by invoking Franklin Roosevelt's actions with Germans, Italians and Japanese during World War II. Trump said he wasn't praising the internment camps, but he continued: "They [FDR's presidential proclamations] stripped [Germans, Italians and the Japanese] of their naturalization proceedings. They went through a whole list of things; they couldn't go five miles from their homes. They weren't allowed to use radios, flashlights. I mean, you know. Take a look at what FDR did many years ago, and he's one of the most highly respected presidents "
Soon the lineup of Republicans pushing back began: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, most of the other GOP presidential candidate front-runners, Bob Dole, and a slew of early primary states' GOP chairs, including Tennessee's GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn. Horn called Trump's proposal "un-American."
Even former Vice President Dick Cheney, who oversaw efforts after 9/11 to register Muslim men of a certain age and nationality, condemned Trump's plan. "I think this whole notion that somehow we can say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in," he said.
Presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called Trump a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot."
But the real juice came from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan Tuesday morning — the day the House later voted to tighten restrictions on visa-free travel to the U.S.
"Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle. It's a founding principle of this country," Ryan told reporters. "Normally I do not comment on what's going on in the presidential election. I will take an exception today. This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it's not what this country stands for."
He continued: "Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House, working every day to uphold and defend the Constitution. Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims — the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of whom are peaceful, who believe in pluralism, freedom, democracy, individual rights "
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said Trump's comments were not helpful: "I don't think ISIS needs any help recruiting," he said.
Nunes is right — and wrong. ISIS doesn't need any other help because Trump — and the GOP (up until today's response to Trump) — has been all the A-team that radicals could possibly need.