The remarks drew immediate condemnation from his own party. A White House spokesman said the comments disqualify him from being president. In other circles, Donald Trump’s suggestion that all Muslims should be temporarily banned from entering the United States drew comparisons to Nazi Germany.

Despite the outcry from nearly all sides in the roughly 36 hours since he suggested the ban, Trump has not backed down, foretelling of increased attacks on America without his drastic security measures.

“You’re going to have more World Trade Centers,” Trump said. “We can be politically correct, and we can be stupid, but it’s going to get worse and worse.”

Despite the criticism, there also are those who support Trump’s plan to bar members of the world’s fastest-growing religion, at least temporarily.

In Maine, some people are cheering him on.

“Trump is appealing to the greatest fears of losing our country, losing our heritage and our way of life,” said Genevieve Winslow of Standish. “He’s a populist, at this point, because he’s saying things people don’t dare to say, (from) a white (person’s) interest, European interest.”


Pointing to what she saw as a microcosm of what could happen across America without tighter immigration controls, Winslow referred to Lewiston, where Sudanese and other refugees, who are mostly Muslim, have resettled.

“It’s white flight,” she said. “Would you live in the middle of Lewiston?”

Elmuatz Abdelrahim of Lewiston. Photo by Eric Russell/Staff Writer

Elmuatz Abdelrahim of Lewiston: “I feel as though I’m protected by the Constitution.”

However, at least one Muslim who does live there saw Trump’s words as unfortunate and potentially harmful.

“If that feeds into the radicalization for some people, if that ends up helping ISIS, that is bad for everybody,” said Elmuatz Abdelrahim, 45, who came to the U.S. in 2007 from Sudan and lives in Lewiston.

He said that despite the charged language, being a Muslim in America is no harder now than before.

“I feel as though I’m protected by the Constitution that protects everyone else,” Abdelrahim said.



Pious Ali, a Muslim and at-large member of the Portland Board of Education, said Trump’s statement Monday is “a continuation of dangerous rhetoric that he’s throwing out there.”

Ali added: “It’s dangerous, because you never know how people will take it or where they are going to take it or what they will do to innocent Muslims,” many of whom, he noted, do good work all over the country.

“Muslims are part of the American fabric, and nobody can change that, and no one can take it away,” he said.

Division among voters on the controversial policy suggestion has in some cases split households.

Joan Blackwood, 71, and her husband, Paul Blackwood, 74, of Alton, New Hampshire, are of opposite minds on the effectiveness of Trump’s religious test for entry to the nation.


Paul Blackwood, 74, of Alton, N.H.: "My experience with Muslims is I just don’t trust them."

Paul Blackwood of Alton, N.H.: “My experience with Muslims is I just don’t trust them.”

Joan Blackwood fears a Trump presidency would result in near-instant war.

“He plays to the fears of many people,” she said.

Her husband, however, believes Trump’s proposal is a good one.

“My experience with Muslims is I just don’t trust them,” he said. “They’re out to take over the world.”

Taking a more pragmatic line of reasoning was Ian Czerw, 33, of Saco, who said that dictating someone’s thoughts or beliefs isn’t possible.

“I don’t think it’s realistic,” Czerw said. “You can’t just go around banning any old idea.”



Leigh Thompson, 49, of Conway, N.H. suggested that at the most, the U.S. could allow in Muslim women and children.

Leigh Thompson of Conway, N.H. suggests that at the most, the U.S. could allow in Muslim women and children.

Leigh Thompson, 49, of Conway, New Hampshire, sees the situation through the eyes of a Navy veteran.

The U.S. government already struggles to provide for veterans returning from war or lengthy stints of service, and she worries about Muslims pushing their religion on Americans.

“They are trying to change our way of life to theirs,” she said, suggesting that the U.S. could, at the most, allow Muslim women and children to enter the country.

Others were more measured, embracing the “better safe than sorry” attitude, including Thomas Enerva, 21, of Old Orchard Beach, who said “there is some reason for what (Trump is) saying.”

SOUTH PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 8: People talk about their reactions to Donald Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," outside of the Maine Mall on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Thomas Grant, 60, of Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

Thomas Grant of Portland: “If you’re from a terrorist country, they should be checked out.”

Thomas Grant, 60, had difficulty squaring the famed inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – with a need for national security.


“If you’re from a terrorist country, they should be checked out,” Grant said.

But for some there was no room for hedging.

Matthew Mitchell, 35, of Portland: "He’s playing a game. ... Systematic racism is disgusting and silly."

Matthew Mitchell of Portland: “He’s playing a game. … Systematic racism is disgusting and silly.”

Matthew Mitchell, 35, sees Trump as playing a game for his own self-interest, in it more for publicity than the nation’s best interests.

“He’s playing a game,” Mitchell said. “Systematic racism is disgusting and silly.”

Others discounted him entirely.

“I think he’s a whackadoo,” said Cindy McKay, 54, of Brattleboro, Vermont. “I think Donald Trump is a brilliant man, look at what he’s amassed. But he should not be president.”

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