Donald Trump withdrew his support for a government database that would take surveillance on Muslims in the United States. The Republican presidential candidate reasoned the Muslim registration suggestion came from a reporter.
Trump caused a stir Thursday night after he said there should be a database system for tracking potential terrorists in Muslims in the United States. "There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases," he said after an NBC reporter asked him about the issue.
His statement drew sharp criticism from his Republican presidential rivals.
Moreover, the reporter pressed the billionaire property tycoon if he will do it if he becomes US president. Trump replied: "I would certainly implement that. Absolutely."
But in an interview with Fox News Channel, he clarified that he only wants to have a watch list of Syrian refugees that President Barack Obama is going to let in. He also said he can't clearly hear the NBC's reporter's questions.
In addition, he released a statement during a rally in Alabama. He told the crowd that published reports from his previous statement were inaccurate.
On Friday, he posted a message on Twitter to distance himself from his previous idea. He didn't issue a full retraction on his statement. He stressed that surveillance is an important strategy to keep Americans safe from terrorists.
Furthermore, his spokeswoman said the Republican presidential candidate is serious about fighting terrorism to protect the nation.
For some conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, they said news outlets had mistakenly understood Trump's point in the statement.
Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, the top two Republican presidential candidates, based on the latest polls, have made provocative remarks about Muslim refugees in the past. Both have been sharply criticized by Muslims groups in the U.S for making careless statements.
Carson described refugees as "a rabid dog running around your neighborhood.''
Marci Hamilton, a lawyer from Yeshiva University, stressed requiring U.S Muslims to register in a database clearly violates their religious freedom, which is stated in US Constitution.