By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – President Barack Obama slammed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday, linking his anti-Muslim rhetoric to a ‘shameful’ chapter in American history.
“Where does this stop?” a visibly perturbed Obama asked of Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from U.S. entry.
“The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer -- they were all U.S. citizens,” he said. “Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start to discriminate them, because of their faith?”
Trump's Muslim ban is “not the America we want,” Obama said.
“We have gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear, and we came to regret it. We have seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it has been a shameful part of our history,” he said.
"This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don't have religious tests here," he added.
One day after an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and injured over 50 others, Trump dared his likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and Obama to refer to the attack as “radical Islamic terrorism.
"They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else. I refuse to be politically correct," he said.
Obama fought back saying that his reluctance to use the label has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with the U.S.'s efforts to fight extremist groups.
"Groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West," he said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, another name for Daesh.
"If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists' work for them," he added.
Obama was speaking after meeting with his national security advisors on the U.S.-led counter-Daesh effort.
He stressed that Daesh is on the back foot in the territories it controls in Syria, Iraq and Libya, saying that U.S. intelligence indicates the terror group's fighters are at their fewest numbers in more than two years.