Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defended his call to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the United States by comparing it to former President Roosevelt's 1942 executive order that authorized the internment of 110,000 American citizens of Japanese descent.
"This is a president highly respected by all, he did the same thing," Trump said on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse."
"We are now at war," he added. "We have a president that doesn't want to say that, but we are now at war."
He shied away from the analogy during an earlier interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" when host Joe Scarborough asked whether the internment camps violated American values.
"I am not proposing that," Trump said. "This is a whole different thing."
At one point the interview grew so combative that Scarborough called for a commercial break out of frustration.
In a recent interview with Time Magazine, Trump didn't disavow Roosevelt's use of internment camps when asked whether he would have supported it.
"I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer," he said. "I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer."
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The Supreme Court ruled that the executive order establishing the internment camps was constitutional in Korematsu v. United States, and although the ruling stands, the prevailing view is that it was a shameful decision. Dissenting Justice Robert Jackson said it "validated the principle of racial discrimination in criminal procedure."
It's not the kind of policy that would hold up in court today, asserted Khaled Abou El Fadl, a human rights law professor at the University of California Law School. "It was an open state of war," he told CBS News, referring to World War II.
Although Trump is identifying with former President Roosevelt, other people have drawn different comparisons in light of his proposal to ban Muslims. The Philadelphia Daily News cover Tuesday showing Trump with his arm raised at a 45 degree angle and the words, "The New Furor" -- a play on Adolf Hilter's title of fuhrer.
"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling tweeted that Voldemort, the wizard who is the chief villain in her book series, was "nowhere near as bad."
When "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos asked whether the Hitler comparisons bothered him, Trump said, "no."