Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to take a stand against Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.
When asked if he would support such a ban on Monday, Cruz replied, “No, that is not my policy,” but did not criticize Trump, according to the Texas Tribune.
“I believe the focus should focus on radical Islamic terrorism, and we need to be directly focused on threats to the United States,” he continued. “We need a commander in chief that perceives what the threat is and that targets all of our resources to protecting this nation against radical Islamic terrorism.”
A reporter then asked Cruz if he was concerned about anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S., according to the Texas Tribune.
“I don’t believe most Americans are using language against Muslim Americans,” Cruz responded. “We’re using language against radical Islamic terrorists.”
In an interview with The Guardian on Monday, Graham condemned Trump’s proposal and called out Cruz by name for not clearly denouncing the real estate mogul’s comments.
“Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level,” Graham said. “It is time for Ted Cruz to quit hiding in the weeds and speak out against Donald Trump’s xenophobia and racial bigotry.”
Many Republicans were quick to condemn Trump’s plan. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Trump “unhinged,” and Ohio Gov. John Kasich criticized Trump’s “outrageous divisiveness.”