The head of the House Homeland Security Committee said that inflammatory comments about Islam and Muslims help fill the ranks of radical extremist groups as Republicans worked Wednesday to distance themselves from Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
“Any time somebody is making inflammatory statements about Muslims or whatever, they can take that and use it to their advantage for recruiting purposes,” Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability Mike Siegel: Potential McConaughey candidacy a 'sideshow' in Texas governor race Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome' MORE (R-Texas) told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
“I actually watch their videos,” McCaul added, without specifically mentioning Trump’s name. “They take things like this and they spin it, to inflame the Muslim world, to get more recruits to join the cause to fight in Syria.”
“Any inflammatory statements like that are counterproductive because they can actually cause more damage or harm by sort of vindicating their position as they try to spread their ideology across the globe on the Internet.”
McCaul’s remarks were part of widespread repudiation of Trump’s proposal to block Muslims from entering the United States.
The plan, which many experts said would be unconstitutional, has been denounced to varying degrees by top Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and many of Trump’s campaign opponents.
“I don’t believe that kind of proposal would be constitutional,” McCaul said on Wednesday.
“We were founded upon freedom of religion.”
Still, McCaul insisted that he “will support the Republican nominee.”
“Perhaps if [Trump] is, he and I can have a discussion on radical Islamist terrorism and how to properly deal with it.”