COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Donald Trump, campaigning in Council Bluffs on Tuesday night, warned that accepting Syrian refugees into the United States could be like allowing foreign armies to build support within the country.
“It’ll never stop,” he said of the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. “And then one day we may have a small army in here. Or a big army in here. … I mean it’s, like, genius. It’s one of the greatest military strategies I’ve ever heard of. It truly is. It’s going to make the old Trojan horse, like, that’s peanuts compared to what they did to our country.”
He urged the couple thousand attendees — many of whom had crossed into Iowa from neighboring Nebraska — that the U.S. and its leaders must remain vigilant to protect the country from terror attacks.
Trump also lamented that the United States doesn’t accept Christian refugees into its borders.
“We take only the Muslims,” he said. “And you know what? Hey, that’s the way it is. OK? But we don’t take Christians. Now the Christians, they’re all in trouble over there. It’s a hellhole. The Christians are having their heads cut off. They’re having their heads — we don’t take the Christians. And if you’re Christian it’s almost impossible to get into this country. But if you’re Muslim you can come in.”
According to FactCheck.org, about 3% of the Syrian refugees admitted to the country since 2011 are Christians. And according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all immigrants to the U.S. identify as Christian.
Trump also criticized his Democratic rivals, calling Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders more of a communist than a socialist and belittling his crowd sizes as inferior.
“Can you imagine?” Trump said of the possibility of former secretary of State Hillary Clintonas president. “Believe me. Women — if it’s got to be a woman, which I’m all in favor of some day — it shouldn’t be Hillary.”
Jay Johnsen, a farmer from Logan, Iowa, said he plans to caucus this year and probably will caucus for Trump.
“He’s operating on his own money and he’s kind of old school. Similar to Ronny Reagan or something,” Johnsen said. “Ain’t phony like the rest of them. … He’ll stand up to people. That’s what I like.”
(Brianne Pfannenstiel reported this story for The Des Moines Register)