The Pentagon slammed GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
While Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook emphasized that the Department of Defense does not want to get into domestic politics, his statement Tuesday carried strong and obvious rebuke of Trump’s proposal, The Hill reports.
“Anything that creates tensions and creates the notion that the United States is at odds with the Muslim faith and Islam would be counterproductive to our efforts right now, and totally contrary to our values,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Tuesday, according to The Hill.
The natural implication is that Trump’s plan is “certainly something of concern to the Department of Defense.”
Such a move to block Muslims, Cook noted, would only serve to reinforce ISIS’ narrative that the U.S. is at war with Islam, thus further endangering U.S. national security.
Cook added that there are many Muslims serving faithfully in the U.S. military, a point that many commentators have tried to make following the San Bernardino shooting. Media outlets widely reported that the brother of shooter Syed Rizwan Farook was a decorated Navy hero, but in reality, the medals he received were largely for participation. Buzzfeed later dropped the term “decorated” from its headline on Farook’s brother.
Cook’s statement on behalf of the DOD puts the department in close alignment with the White House.
Trump defended his plan to prevent all Muslims from entering the U.S., calling it a temporary measure and saying that it would not apply to U.S. citizens. Republicans like Paul Ryan bashed the policy as “not conservatism,” and although GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz disagreed with the proposal, he did not jump on the scolding bandwagon.
“We have to get a hand around a very serious problem,” Trump said on MSNBC. “And it’s getting worse. And you will have more World Trade Centers and you will have more, bigger than the World Trade Center, if we don’t toughen up, smarten up, and use our heads.”