The White House says comments from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “disqualify” him from the presidency.
This after Trump made banning all Muslims, whether immigrants or visitors, from entering the U.S., a key policy plank in his campaign.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says the policy is unconstitutional, and by pushing it, Trump has invalidated his candidacy.
“The fact is that the first thing a President does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. And the fact is that what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as President.”
Earnest went further, suggesting that other Republican candidates who have sworn to back Trump if he wins the party’s nomination are by association also disqualifying themselves.
“The question now is the rest of the Republican party, and whether they’re going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him.”
WATCH: White house Press Secretary Josh Earnest says Donald Trump’s Muslim ban disqualifies him from serving as president
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 8, 2015
Trump announced the policy on Monday, following the terror attacks in San Bernardino, California.
He claims there is a wide hatred for Americans among the global Muslim population, and says the policy is needed until representatives “can figure out what is going on.”
It follows a string of highly criticized comments directed at Muslims, including a suggestion all Muslims be registered in a government database, that mosques be placed under surveillance, and that New Jersey Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks.
Trump says he stands by the comments
Josh Labov, a PhD candidate in political geography at Simon Fraser University, says Trump is within his constitutional rights to say what he wants.
“Based upon the comments he’s made, he is merely a buffoon and a threat to democracy. He actually becomes dangerous to democracy once he’s elected.”
Labov says if that happens and Trump moves to actually enact something like a ban on Muslims, he would run into trouble.
“But if he was president and he chose to misinterpret the constitution, particularly in inflammatory ways, there would be a congress and there would be a judiciary that would be there to oppose him and to check him and to balance him. If that was continued, obviously there is an impeachment protocol in the United States to remove a leader.”
He says the most dangerous aspect of the Trump campaign is not the divisive rhetoric but how Americans are reacting to it.