A supporter of President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday cited the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II ― considered one of the darkest periods in American history ― as the basis for creating a federal registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
Carl Higbie, a retired Navy SEAL, made the case in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who was decidedly incredulous upon hearing it:
”The president needs to protect America first, and if that means having people that are not protected under our Constitution have some sort of registry so we can understand ― until we can identify the true threat and where it’s coming from ― I support it,” said Higbie, who worked on a pro-Trump super PAC during the campaign.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration hardliner who is advising Trump’s transition team, said earlier this week that the president-elect’s policy advisers were considering instating a Muslim registry.
During the campaign, Trump said he might have supported the internment of Japanese-Americans at the time. “I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer,” Trump told Time last December. “I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer.”
Trump later called for a ban on Muslims entering the country and followed up by proposing “extreme vetting” of Muslims in the name of national security.
Earlier Wednesday, Higbie came to the defense of Steve Bannon, the newly named chief strategist to the president-elect, who previously ran Breitbart.com, a website that traffics in white nationalist sentiment. Scores of congressional Democrats have called on Trump to part ways with Bannon, calling him a purveyor of anti-Semitism, misogyny and racism.
“Steve Bannon has exceled in every single role he has held dating back to his service in the US Navy,” Higbie said in a statement. “I cannot imagine a better person to be advising an already successful businessman taking on the biggest business in the world, the US Government.”