United States, Washington: Yesterday, Donald Trump, the front runner who could tighten his grip on the Republican presidential nomination battle if he wins Florida and Ohio, defended his belief, as stated in television interviews, that followers of Islam “hate us”. He said, “We have a serious problem of hate. There is tremendous hate”.
But Mr Trump’s rivals, US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, said the United States needed to maintain good relations with Muslim countries in the Middle East to help in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants. Mr Rubio said, “We are going to have to work with people in the Muslim faith even as Islam faces a serious crisis within it”.
Mr Rubio also defended American Muslims as patriots. He said, “If you go anywhere in the world you’re going to see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims”. “Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America.”
Mr Kasich, looking to win his home state of Ohio on Tuesday in order to keep his candidacy going, said Middle Eastern allies in the Arab world were essential. “The fact is if we’re going to defeat ISIS, we’re going to have to have those countries [as allies],” he said, citing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.
Mr Trump said he would consider putting between 20,000 and 30,000 US troops on the ground in the region to help defeat IS, saying he would complete the mission quickly and bring them home to focus on rebuilding the United States. He said, “We really have no choice, we have to knock out ISIS”. “I would listen to the generals, but I’m hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000”. It was the most detailed view yet of Mr Trump’s thinking about IS. He had previously talked of “knocking the hell” out of IS without offering specifics.