Eleven months after Donald Trump stunned the world by calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, he is stoking fears of terrorism anew with provocative rhetoric that stops just short of the religious bias that he championed after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
At an airport rally Sunday in Minneapolis, Trump said Minnesota had suffered a “disaster” as tens of thousands of Somali immigrants, some of them war refugees, had settled in the state over the last few decades.
“To be a rich nation, we must also be a safe nation, and you know what’s going on there,” he told the crowd. “Oh, Minnesota. Oh, Minnesota. You know what’s going on. You know what I’m talking about. Do you know what I’m talking about? Oh, be politically correct. Just nod. Quietly nod. The whole world knows what’s happening in Minnesota.”
Trump then criticized Hillary Clinton for supporting the admission of Syrian refugees to the United States, drawing a roar of boos for his Democratic rival.
“She wants virtually unlimited immigration and refugee admissions from the most dangerous regions of the world to come into our country, and to come into Minnesota, and you know better than anybody,” he said.
“Her plan will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities. You already have it. When I’m elected president, we will suspend the Syrian refugee program and we will keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”
It was one of Trump’s biggest applause lines in the final weekend of his campaign at rallies in North Carolina, Michigan and other states, and it drew thunderous chants of “USA, USA.”
Trump said Minnesota had seen first-hand the problems caused by “faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval.”
Syrian refugees are subjected to more intense vetting than other immigrants, with multiple federal agencies investigating their background before they are admitted to the U.S. Church groups have helped many of them integrate into American society.
Offering no evidence, Trump said some Somali refugees in Minnesota had joined the Islamic State terrorist group and spread “their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.”
“Honestly, it’s hard to believe,” he said. “Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota…. You don’t even have the right to talk about it. You don’t even know who’s coming in. You have no idea. You’ll find out.”
Trump mentioned the September stabbing of 10 people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minn., by a suspect who is the son of Somali refugees. He said his administration would not allow refugees to settle anywhere without the community’s approval.
Trump has never renounced his proposed Muslim ban, which is still posted on his website, but has modified his language in discussing it. At a rally Sunday night outside Detroit, he said he would “pause admissions from terror-prone regions of the world” until protections against terrorism are tightened
Khizr Khan’s voice was slow and deliberate, just like it was months ago when he captivated the Democratic convention with the story of his son, a Muslim American soldier who died serving in Iraq.
And just like before, when he asked whether Donald Trump had read the U.S. Constitution, he had more questions for the Republican nominee on Sunday night when he appeared with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Donald Trump, would my son, Capt. Humayun Khan, have a place in your America? Would Muslims have a place in your America? Would Latinos have a place in your America? Would African Americans have a place in your America? Would anyone who isn’t like you have a place in your America?”
The crowd was silent, then roared when Khan delivered his denouement. “Thankfully, Donald Trump, this isn’t your America,” he said.
Khan’s presence two days before the election is a reminder of one of the campaign’s lowest moments for Trump, who responded to the convention speech by criticizing Khan and his wife.
More recently, Khan has campaigned for Clinton in his home state in Virginia. He introduced her in Manchester, N.H., as someone who would “preserve fundamental American values.”
When Clinton took the podium, she thanked Khan for his support and made a nod toward the difficult task of mending fences after a divisive presidential campaign.
“We will have some work to do to bring about healing and reconciliation after this election,” she said.
Clinton is more popular than Trump in polls, but her favorability rating remains underwater. In the final days before the election, she’s repeatedly emphasized the high stakes of the campaign.
“Although my name and my opponent’s name might be on the ballot on Tuesday, what’s really on the ballot is what kind of country we want for our children and our grandchildren,” she said. Hours after the FBI affirmed that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted for her private email server, Donald Trump said rank-and-file agents “won’t let her get away with her terrible crimes.”
At a rally Sunday night in this Detroit suburb, Trump cast doubt on the thoroughness of the FBI’s review of emails that Clinton advisor Huma Abedin kept on a computer belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former New York congressman.
“You can’t review 650,000 new emails in eight days,” Trump told a rowdy crowd of thousands at an outdoor amphitheater. “You can’t do it, folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people know it. And now, it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on Nov. 8.”
The crowd repeatedly broke into loud chants of “Lock her up!” as Trump pounded Clinton for using a private email system when she was secretary of State.
Michigan was the third of five states where the Republican presidential nominee was campaigning Sunday. Clinton leads in Michigan polls, but is concerned enough about her standing here that she plans to campaign outside Grand Rapids on Monday.
Trump hopes that Michigan’s white blue-collar voters will propel him to an improbable victory here that could block Clinton’s path to the White House.
“We’re going to stop the jobs from going to Mexico and China and all over the world,” Trump told the crowd in Sterling Heights. “We’re going to make Michigan into the manufacturing hub of the world once again and no politician will do that. They don’t have a clue.”
Trump criticized Ford, Chrysler and other companies for their manufacturing in Mexico and other countries.
“It’s not going to happen if I’m president, believe me,” Trump said.
Trump also promised to end the “nightmare of violence” caused by immigrants in the country illegally.
“Keep ’em out!” a man hollered from the audience.