Cruz splits with Trump over Muslim ban

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Tuesday he does not agree with fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

“I disagree with that proposal,” he said, though he declined to join Republican and Democratic colleagues who have forcefully condemned Trump for the remarks.

“I like Donald Trump. A lot of our friends here have encouraged me to criticize and attack Donald Trump. I’m not interested in doing so,” he said.

Cruz said the nation needs a plan “focused on the direct threat, and the threat we’re facing is radical Islamic terrorism.”

He has introduced legislation that would suspend for three years the resettlement of refugees to the United States from countries where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or al Qaeda control substantial territory.

His bill has a narrow exception for refugees from groups designated by the State Department as victims of genocide.

Other Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have slammed Trump’s comments.

“This is not who we are as a party or a country,” Ryan told Republican colleagues Tuesday during a private meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, according to a person who attended it.

Republican Rep. David Jolly (Fla.), meanwhile, called on Trump to drop out of the presidential contest.

“It is time that my side of the aisle has one less candidate in the race for the White House. It is time for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race,” he said on the House floor.

“We must always insist on a security test. But we must never require a religious test,” he added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is also running for president, was more blunt.

“Tell Donald Trump to go to hell,” Graham told CNN’s “New Day.”

Other Republicans have refrained from criticizing Trump, drawing fire from Democrats.

“Political leaders must condemn these hateful, un-American statements with their words and their actions. Silence only empowers bigots,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor.

Adam Jentleson, a senior adviser to Reid, noted on Twitter that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to criticize Trump.

Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos contributed.

Tags Donald Trump Harry Reid Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan Ted Cruz
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