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Gardner On Trump: 'Buffoon,' Other Colorado Republicans Weigh In

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)- Republican leaders in Colorado are reacting to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to block Muslims from entering the United States, with mixed results.

One former Colorado Congressman is supporting Trump's call. Tom Tancredo has written three columns over the last year calling on the government to "stop all immigration of Muslims to the United States... and deport those already here who adhere to Sharia law."

Tancredo says "This is not an unusual sort of position to take. The government in the United States has in the past restricted people in this country because of the threat they pose. We have never been able to devise the appropriate sieve through which you can strain all the people who are coming into this country, especially the ones who are coming here to kill you. We just don't have the ability. And when they overwhelm us in numbers, it strains - in fact, it breaks - the ability of the FBI or anybody else to actually monitor."

tom tancredo
CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Tom Tancredo (credit: CBS)

Trump's statement on Monday advocated a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

Trump, who appears to revel in the attention, didn't back down from his proposal Tuesday, saying that banning Muslims "until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on" is warranted after last month's attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris and last week's shootings in San Bernardino, Cali.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (credit: CBS)

Tancredo says the country has become too politically correct, "Islam is more than a religion, it's a political ideology that threatens America. Nobody seems to mind the fact that the President of the United States and the State Department are restricting the entrance into this country of Christians from Iraq and Syria. You can keep Christians out but you have to let Muslims in."

But, other Republican leaders in Colorado denounced Trump's remarks.

"There's a legitimate debate over President Obama's weak and failed policies on dealing with terrorism and the Islamic state, but that debate gets totally derailed when Donald Trump says these highly irresponsible and inflammatory things, like banning all Muslims from entering the United States," says Dick Wadhams, a veteran Republican consultant and the former head of the Colorado Republican Party.

dick wadhams
CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Dick Wadhams (credit: CBS)

"It reminds me of that very sordid period in American history when Franklin Delano Roosevelt imposed internment camps on Japanese American citizens," says Wadhams.

Republican members of Colorado's congressional delegation also weighed in with Sen. Cory Gardner calling Trump a "buffoon" as first reported by Bloomberg News.

Rep. Scott Tipton said, "This is not conservatism. It's not what this country or this party stands for. Those who are calling for our country to ban refugees who practice the Muslim faith couldn't be more wrong and have no place in the discussion. I will remind them that we are a nation founded on the principle of religious liberty for all, and that is sacred."

Mike Coffman
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado (credit: CBS)

Rep. Mike Coffman released a statement, "As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I know what it takes to protect our country and as a member of Congress, I always have and always will represent all of the citizens of my district, regardless of their religious affiliation, and protect their constitutional rights."

And, Rep. Ken Buck said Trump shouldn't even be running for president.

"Trump's proposal violates the Constitution, the values of our nation, the Republican Party platform, and my conscience. He should withdraw from the Presidential race. He is a fraud," said Buck.

Trump's proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting adherents of a religion practiced by more than a billion people worldwide. Trump clarified in a round of television interviews Tuesday that his proposed ban would not apply to American citizens traveling abroad and would allow exemptions for certain people, including the leaders of Middle Eastern countries and athletes for certain sporting events.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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