- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

Donald Trump doubled down Thursday night on his claim that Islam “hates” America.

Asked during the Republican debate if he meant that all 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide hate the United States, Mr. Trump replied, “I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them. There’s tremendous hatred, and I will stick with exactly what I said.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida criticized Mr. Trump, saying his comment has “a real impact” with Muslims worldwide and pointing out that Muslims serve in the U.S. military.

“They love America,” Mr. Rubio said. “As far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military.”

Mr. Trump retorted, “Marco talks about consequences. Well we’ve had a lot of consequences including airplanes flying into the World Trade Center. I don’t want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. There is tremendous hate. Large portions [of the Muslim world] want to use very, very harsh means.”

Mr. Rubio replied, “I’m not interested in being politically correct; I’m interested in being correct. We are going to have to work with people of the Muslim faith.”

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump says he doesn’t condone violence at rallies

Mr. Trump went on that people in large mosques in the Middle East are “chanting ‘death to the U.S.A.’” And he said the U.S. needs to expand its laws to deal more harshly with terrorism suspects, citing the Islamic States torture and murder of hostages.

“We’d better expand our laws or we’re being a bunch of suckers,” he said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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