UK PM David Cameron stands by criticism of Trump’s Muslim comments


British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday stood by his criticism of Donald Trump’s vow to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, after an adviser to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee asked for an apology.

Cameron, who had dismissed the idea as “divisive, stupid and wrong” when Trump proposed it in December, told a press conference in London that it was clear that “the policy idea that was put forward was wrong”.

However, he said the billionaire property tycoon “deserves our respect” for his victory in one of the most contentious and chaotic nomination battles in generations.

In the wake of a shooting by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead, Trump urged a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

The remarks prompted condemnation from around the world, and Cameron told parliament: “I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country, he would unite us all against him.”

He was responding to a question about a petition signed by more than half a million people calling for Trump to be banned from entering Britain, where Muslims make up about five percent of the population.

A foreign policy advisor to Trump, George Papadopoulos, told The Times this week that the campaign team had been shocked by the British prime minister’s comments.

“I can’t speak directly for him (Trump) but it would seem that if prime minister Cameron is serious about reaching out, not only to Mr Trump’s advisers but to the man himself, an apology or some sort of retraction should happen,” Papadopoulos was quoted as saying.

Asked on Thursday whether he owed Trump an apology, Cameron told reporters: “It’s obviously a matter for the voters in the United States to decide who they choose as their next president.

“Knowing the gruelling nature of primaries and what you have to go through, anyone who makes it through that extraordinary contest to lead their party into a general election certainly deserves our respect.

“But what I said about Muslims, I won’t change that view, I don’t change that view, I’m very clear that the policy idea that was put forward was wrong, is wrong and will remain wrong.”