Washington: Donald Trump refused to budge over his call to ban all Muslims from entering the US even as Republican presidential rivals questioned his controversial stance, with Jeb Bush wondering if the frontrunner also meant banning Muslims from countries like India and Indonesia which are strong allies of the US.
Trump - whose popularity rating soared after his anti- Muslim rhetoric in which he called for banning all Muslims from entering the US - said that he would not review his decision as the security of the country is paramount for him.
"I want security for this country. We have a serious problem with radical Islam. We have a tremendous problem. It's not only a problem here. It's a problem all over the world," Trump said as he refused Bush's request to review his plan.
"Are we going to ban Muslims from India, from Indonesia, from countries that our strong allies -- that we need to build better relationships with? Of course not. What we need to do is destroy ISIS," Bush said during the debate with six other top candidates two weeks before the first nominating contests.
Trump said: "We have to stop with political correctness. We have to get down to creating a country that's not going to have the kind of problems that we've had with people flying planes into the World Trade Centres, with shootings in California, with all the problems all over the world. "We have to find out what's going on. I said temporarily. I didn't say permanently."
Bush responded, saying: "Donald I hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS. The Kurds are our strongest allies. They're Muslim.
"You're not going to even allow them to come to our country?"
"The other Arab countries have a role to play in this. We cannot be the world's policeman. We can't do this unilaterally. We have to do this in unison with the Arab world. And sending that signal makes it impossible for us to be serious about taking out ISIS and restoring democracy in Syria," Bush said amidst applause.
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said Americans are feeling frustrated and scared and angry when there is a president who refuses to acknowledge the threat US faces. "If I'm elected president, we will not let in refugees from countries controlled by ISIS or Al Qaeda. When it comes to ISIS, we will not weaken them, we will not degrade them, we will utterly and completely destroy ISIS," Cruz said.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton jumped into the debate ' via Twitter. "This is Muslim Americans' country too. The next president should know that'and act like it," she said. "Let's be clear: Islam isn't our enemy. Hateful rhetoric against Muslims isn't just wrong ' it plays into terrorists' hands," Clinton said in a series of tweets as the seven top Republican presidential had a heated debate on Trump's idea of banning Muslims from entering the US.