"Should we keep them?": Donald Trump floats booting all non-Christians from his rally

Trump let an audience vote if non-Christian conservatives should be kicked out of a rally

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 29, 2016 2:14PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Scott Morgan)
(Reuters/Scott Morgan)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump openly joked about booting non-Christians from his rallies after singling them out during two campaign stops on Wednesday.

Appearing in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as he rolled out his Iowa Christian Conservatives for Trump coalition Wednesday, which the campaign said included more than 650 religious leaders from the state, Trump first held up a sign with a blue background reading, "Christian Conservatives For Trump. Make America Great Again."

Then the Republican presidential nominee boasted that he won more support from the evangelical Christians during the GOP primary than anyone had predicted.

"We have our Christian conservatives for Trump today. And they're in the room. Let's go. That's what we want. That's beautiful," Trump told the cheering crowd.

“Raise your hands, Christian conservatives everybody,” he said, as most of the hands in the draped-off convention center went up. Then, he asked those who are not to raise their hands before jokingly questioning whether he should "keep them in the room."

"Raise your hand if you're not a Christian conservative. I want to see this. Right," he said, according to Time.

He paused and looked around until he spotted a few hands.

"That is a couple of people," he said. "That's alright. I think we'll keep them, right? Shall we keep them in the room? I think so."

Trump repeated his pandering schtick at a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Wednesday.

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director  of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Trump's comments were disturbing, citing his proposed temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

"Given Mr. Trump’s history of targeting religious and ethnic minorities, it is disturbing that he would single out non-Christians during his rally in Iowa," Hooper said in a statement. "It is clear that his vision of America is one of division and exclusion, not unity and acceptance.”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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