Donald Trump has dominated the headlines this week after calling on Monday for Muslims to be banned from entering the United States in response to recent terror attacks, with the tycoon coming up as an issue at Prime Minister’s Questions, and 500,000 people signing a petition to ban him from Britain. However, polls suggest that the Republican presidential contender’s remarks haven’t sunk his electoral prospects, with Bloomberg finding that 64% of likely Republican voters agreed with him. A poll on Monday night showed that Trump had slipped behind Ted Cruz in Iowa, the first state in the nation that gets to pass judgement on the prospective presidential candidates, coming in at 19% (behind Cruz’s 24%), which risked leading to the perception rising that his campaign was flagging, but he has set the news agenda this week, with Hilary Clinton and British politicians having to react to him. Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims may have alienated many voters, but he will be pleased to have energised his potential supporters.
Republican rivals have not pulled their punches in response, with Jeb Bush calling Trump “unhinged”, and Lindsey Graham describing his remarks as “downright dangerous”. Fellow candidate Ben Carson, until recently a frontrunner, has written in today’s paper with a more thoughtful take, looking at why Trump would make such provocative comments about Muslims. Drawing on his experience as a former neurosurgeon (a role he is so celebrated for that he was mentioned on The Wire), Carson considers how two seemingly contradictory thoughts about Muslims, wanting a ban on them coming to America while praising Muslim friends, can exist in Trump’s brain. He argues that Trump is “merely voicing a widespread sentiment among people who feel that they have no rational way of separating friend from foe”. “We should not seek to suppress the instincts of fear that Donald Trump and so many others feel when seeing a person who appears to be a Muslim. As we know, fear can often be a gift,” he goes on. “But we have to acknowledge our biases and create safe spaces to speak about them openly. That is what is so dangerous about political correctness – it prevents us from having open and frank discussions. At the same time, once everything is out on the table, we have to sit back with our deliberative brains and sort out the real risks and opportunities before us.”
Trump has shown himself to be a master of seizing the news agenda, but does he have a plan beyond that? Back in 2000, he poured scorn on conservative pundit Pat Buchanan when he was sought the presidency, saying he had been “guilty of many egregious examples of intolerance”, such as criticising Mexicans. The tycoon, who later infamously accused the Mexican government of “sending rapists, drug dealers, and criminals across the border”, finished up by declaring that Buchanan has “written too many inflammatory, outrageous, and controversial things to ever be elected president”. Will this apply to him too?
“We should not seek to suppress the instincts of fear that Donald Trump and so many others feel when seeing a person who appears to be a Muslim.” Ben Carson
Cameron Decides Not To Decide
David Cameron has provoked a furious reaction from business leaders who have accused him of being “gutless”, after he put off a decision on whether to expand Heathrow until the Summer. “Boris Johnson once described the Government’s agonising over how to expand London’s airport capacity as “ditherama” and nothing has changed,” we say.
Blair Grilled By MPs On Libya
Tony Blair will be accused of allowing a trade-off between UK business interests in Libya and justice for IRA victims and families of Yvonne Fletcher when Britain restored trade links with Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime a decade ago. The former Labour Prime Minister will be pressed by MPs in public for the first time about whether the Government agreed to not to press for British victims of Gaddafi’s regime in return for trade deals, after the Gaddafi regime renounced terrorism in 2003.
Prisoners Vote Progress
David Cameron is on the verge of a landmark victory over controversial moves to give prisoners the vote, after European ministers kicked the issue into the long grass in the face of fierce British opposition. Fraser Nelson, however, warns the Prime Minister against thinking “that Britain can save the continent”. “Several prime ministers have succumbed to this fantasy over the years, and have bargained away various parcels of British sovereignty in the hope of buying more influence in Brussels,” he writes in today’s paper.
Corbyn Urged To Shun ‘Communists’
Jeremy Corbyn must distance himself from the “communists” in Stop the War and tell them to end their “intimidation, abuse” and plots to deselect moderate Labour MPs, a senior member of the shadow cabinet has said. Meanwhile, video footage has emerged of a co-founder of Stop the War coalition, John Rees, declaring that he is a “supporter” of Hizbollah and Hamas. “It’s also been our policy that resistance is a legitimate part of the movement,” he said.
Corbyn And The Conman
Jeremy Corbyn intervened to secure bail for a con artist accused of stealing money from pensioners in order to raise funds for Isil jihadists in Syria. The Labour leader wrote a letter to magistrates in May in a bid to help Mohamed Dahir, 23 secure bail.
Westminster Bake Off
Samantha Cameron is to don an apron and make her reality television show debut in a charity version of The Great British Bake Off. Mrs Cameron will not be the only Westminster representative on the show. Ed Balls, the former shadow chancellor, and a budding amateur chef, will also take part, although the two will not go head to head.
Corbyn Sings Happy Birthday
Jeremy Corbyn has reduced a flood victim in Cumbria to tears by singing her Happy Birthday. The Labour leader took time out of his visit to Cockermouth to sing to actress Liz Fitton, whose 65th was ruined after her home filled with water in Storm Desmond.
Obesity Terror Warning
Obesity poses such a threat to the country that it should be treated as a “national risk” alongside terrorism, the country’s most senior doctor has warned. Meanwhile, patient safety is being put at risk because of a shortage of inspectors at the care watchdog and a failure to respond quickly enough to warnings that vulnerable people are at risk, MPs have suggested.
Clarissa Explains It All
Melissa Joan Hart has been speaking to Radihka Sanghani about her political views, explaining how she squares being a Republican with being a feminist. “I just feel it’s a conservative movement and I prefer moving slowly in political decisions,” the Sabrina the Teenage Witch actress said. “I feel personally the Government shouldn’t be involved in anything we do – it should be a personal choice. Unfortunately with women’s issues that’s the one place the Republicans feel they should be involved.”