A fascinating phenomenon — no matter how many times Donald Trump is asked if he supports a database for all Muslims in the U.S., Trump answers as if he’s been asked about a database for Syrian refugees — which the U.S. already has; all refugee applicant fingerprints are checked against FBI, DHS, and Department of Defense databases and kept on file — and affirms his support for “databases.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: You did stir up a controversy with those comments over the database. Let’s try to clear that up. Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims?
TRUMP: No, not at all. I want a database for the refugees that — if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watchlists. We want to go with databases.
And we have no choice. We have no idea who’s being sent in here. This could be the Trojan — it’s probably not, but it could be the great Trojan horse of all time, where they come in. When I look at those migration — and when I look at the migration and the lines and I see all strong, very powerful looking men, they’re men, and I see very few women, I see very few children, there’s something strange going on. And if you look at what’s happened in Europe, a lot of bad things are happening in Europe. Just ask the folks that live in Germany, George. A lot of bad things are happening. So –
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the statistics do show –
TRUMP: We want to be smart. We want to — hey, George, we want to be vigilant. We have to be vigilant and we have to call — is radical — we have to just say it. It’s radical Islamic terrorism, and that’s what it is. And we have a president that won’t even issue the term. But when the Syrians come in, or wherever they are, because we’re not even sure that they’re coming in from Syria, if they’re going to come in, we have to be very, very vigilant and a database would be fine for them, and watchlist is fine. We have to watch and see what we’re doing. They should not come in, by the way. They should not be allowed to come in.
Notice Trump goes on at length, and never quite says something like, “I would not require American citizens who follow Islam to be on a watch list or register with the government.” If you’re among those who think it’s a terrific idea, you get the feeling Trump backs it, too. If you think it’s a terrible idea, Trump never comes out and calls for it.