By Jesse Byrnes
Cruz doubles down on call to monitor Muslims in US
In the face of continued criticismRepublican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzGrassroots battling establishment on trade at conventions Fixing the disastrous nomination process Attacking Trump for the few sensible things he says is bad strategy MORE on Wednesday doubled down on his call for authorities to monitor Muslims living in the United States.
Cruz touched off a political firestorm Tuesday with his call to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels, for which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility.
Cruz took to "CBS This Morning" Wednesday to point to isolated neighborhoods in Belgium that "become incubators for radical, Islamic terrorism," saying "of course" the same exists in the United States.
"Name one community, one city where we have a large group of radicalized Muslims," host Norah O'Donnell responded.
"You have communities, for example, in Minnesota, you have communities in Michigan with heavy concentration" of Muslims, Cruz said, mentioning "radical imams preaching jihadism, preaching Islamism."
Cruz has faced backlash from Democrats and progressive groups for his proposal, which his campaign later clarified as "an empowered, visible law enforcement presence" partnering "with non-radical Americans."
"He doesn't know what the hell he's talking about," New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." "I took great offense at that statement."
Cruz was challenged by the New York Police Department for citing a controversial policing program in New York to map Muslim communities that, though praised by some, angered Muslims and was eventually ended.
"Not one single actional piece of information came out of that," said Bratton, who got rid of the program with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) in 2014. "It didn't work."
Bratton and de Blasio ripped Cruz's proposal at a press conference Tuesday.
Cruz has responded by accusing de Blasio of playing politics on the issue.
"It's not surprising that the Democratic political henchmen of Mayor de Blasio are coming after me," he said Wednesday.
"He seems more upset that I'm calling for stopping the terrorists than he is at the terrorism. It's just like President Obama," Cruz said of de Blasio on "Fox and Friends," noting he'd "apologize to no one" over his rhetoric.
Later in the Fox interview, Cruz turned an attack against rival Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump campaign dismisses Dem attacks as ‘night of empty rhetoric’ Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention MORE's "New York values" into a slam on de Blasio, pointing to an instance last year when dozens of New York City police officers turned their backs on the mayor during an officer funeral.
"When the NYPD stood up and turned their back on Mayor Bill de Blasio, that was a powerful statement rejecting this political correctness, this siding with criminals and looters over the cops," Cruz said.