Donald Trump appeared on Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live to defend his call for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
“The word is temporarily,” Trump said to host Jimmy Kimmel. “I have many, many friends who are Muslim. They’re great people. Some of them, not all of them — I will tell you, some of them aren’t thrilled with what I said — but many of them called me and said, ‘You know Donald, you’re right. We have a problem.'”
Trump’s remarks came in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension,” Trump said in a statement on Dec. 7. “Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Speaking to Kimmel, the Republican presidential hopeful reiterated that stance. “We have people coming into our country who are looking to do tremendous harm. Look at Paris, look at what happened in Paris. These people, they did not come from Sweden,” Trump said. “We have a real problem. There’s a tremendous hatred out there. You can’t solve a problem until you find a root cause.”
According to Trump, many people have called him to say “thank you.” (To which Kimmel replied that maybe they were prank calls.)
As for whether his comments will “radicalize more terrorists,” as Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai recently suggested, Trump scoffed at the notion. “I really — this has come up, two days ago, a couple of people bought this up. I don’t buy it,” he said after Kimmel asked about the possibility that his Muslim ban comments could backfire. “I don’t buy that argument.”
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Watch the interview below.