Donald Trump "would certainly implement" a database system tracking Muslims in the United States, the Republican front-runner told NBC News on Thursday night.
"I would certainly implement that. Absolutely," Trump said in Newton, Iowa, in between campaign town halls.
"There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases," he added. "We should have a lot of systems."
When asked whether Muslims would be legally obligated to sign into the database, Trump responded, "They have to be — they have to be."
As one might imagine Jeb Bush also immediately called Trump out for his remarks:
"You talk about internment, you talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people. That's just wrong. I don't care about campaigns," he said on CNBC. "It's not a question of toughness. It's to manipulate people's angst and their fears. That's not strength, that's weakness."
Less predictably fellow candidate, and Trump sycophant, Ted Cruz slammed his foot on the brakes:
"I'm a big fan of Donald Trump's but I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens," he told reporters of a plan Trump said he backed a day earlier. "The First Amendment protects religious liberty, I've spent the past several decades defending religious liberty."
Wow, losing Ted Cruz. That's big!
I have this image of Cruz following Trump around like a puppy, desperate to snatch up any crumbs of support that might fall off his master's table. Those crumbs are the foundation of Cruz's plan to win the nomination, so you know he is not walking away from that on impulse.
So now the question is, will THIS hurt Trump's poll ratings, or is he really just tapping into the darkness at the soul of the Republican base?
And remember a Rhode Island state senator has already resurrected the specter of internment camps, so there is already evidence that Trump's statements will not be seen as problematic to those who see a terrorist behind every bush and believe that white Christians are losing their hold on the reigns of power in America.