Trump's Proposals for Muslims Make Diplomacy Harder, Kerry Says

  • `That is not America, that is not our constitution': Kerry
  • U.S. Secretary of State spoke at energy conference in Paris

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from traveling to the U.S. makes it harder to carry out effective diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry said, adding his voice to a chorus of figures in both major parties who’ve condemned the idea.

“There are courageous Muslims around the world, in the Middle East and elsewhere, standing up” to Islamic State militants, Kerry said Wednesday at the International New York Times’ Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris. “What Mr. Trump has said runs contrary to all that, and makes our job of reaching out to people and sharing the real America that much more complicated and that much more difficult.”

John Kerry speaks in Paris

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Trump, who continues to lead opinion polls for the Republican nomination with just weeks until critical early primaries, said on Monday that if elected he’d impose a temporary ban preventing Muslims from visiting or immigrating to the U.S. in response to terror attacks. There would be almost no exceptions to the blanket policy, which Trump said was needed for an unspecified period “until we are able to determine and understand” what’s driving extremism.

Along with Democrats, his fellow Republican candidates have largely attacked the idea, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush citing it as evidence Trump has become “unhinged.” Legal experts have said that if implemented it would be unconstitutional, and unprecedented in the history of American foreign and immigration policy.

Stressing that he was trying to be “diplomatic” in his comments about the billionaire real-estate developer, Kerry said the U.S. “cannot succumb to plunking everybody in the world in one pot. That is not America, that is not our constitution.”

Trump’s proposal is the latest in a number of statements that critics have said risk inflaming public opinion toward Muslims. In November, Trump suggested he’d be open to building a database of Muslims resident in the U.S., and he’s also called for a ban on the entry of refugees from the war in Syria, whatever their religion.

On Tuesday, Vice-President Joe Biden said Trump was “preaching a very, very dangerous brew,” and that if he wins the Republican nomination, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would prevail “in a walk” in the 2016 election.

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