Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in a statement released on 7 December. The bombastic candidate said that Muslims should be barred from entering the US until the nation's leaders could "figure our what is going on". Trump's comments came less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama gave a rare Oval Office address calling out any discrimination against Muslims in the US.

In his statement, Trump's campaign quoted several polls that allegedly backed up his claims that "large segments of the Muslim population" have hatred for Americans. "Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Trump said. "Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine."

He continued, "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe online in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

According to The Hill, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that the proposed ban would apply to "everybody," including immigrants, tourists and Muslim-American citizens currently abroad. To promote his new policy, Trump took to Twitter calling on his supporters to "be vigilant!"

Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, which left 14 dead and is believed to have been inspired by the Islamic State (Isis), and the deadly terrorist attack in Paris, which left 130 dead, Trump has ramped up his comments against Muslims. The Grand Old Party (GOP) frontrunner has said they he would "absolutely" create a database of Muslims in the US and that he would monitor mosques because they are "hot spots".

In a 2 December interview on Fox and Friends, Trump said that the way to beat terrorists would be to take out their family members. "When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families! They care about their lives, don't kid yourselves. They say they don't care about their lives. But you have to take our their families."

Several candidates have been quick to condemn Trump's new comments. Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley tweeted, "@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a racist demagogue." Democratic presidential frontrunner Hilliary Clinton added, "This is reprehensible, prejudice and divisive. @RealDonaldTrump, you don't get it. This makes us less safe."

Some of Trump's fellow Republican candidates also responded to his new policy announcement. Jeb Bush called Trump "unhinged," while John Kasich said, "This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterises his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States." Despite his controversial comments, Trump maintains a double-digit lead among GOP presidential candidates.

Donald Trump Hussain Sajwani Melania Trump
Donald Trump (L) poses with the chairman of DAMAC Properties Hussain Sajwani (C) and wife Melania Trump at an event to mark the development of Trump World Golf Club in Dubai DAMAC