WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump faced a wave of criticism on Capitol Hill Tuesday over his call to bar all Muslims from entering the United States. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslim members of Congress, had some particularly colorful words for the Republican presidential candidate.
Ellison said he sees Trump as a "nasty demagogue," in the legacy of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who fought to preserve segregation in schools, and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who drummed up fears of Soviet spies in the U.S. government. Both of them thrived by inciting fear and prejudice for political gain, and he said that's Trump's agenda, too.
"Ever since the 1960s, being a bigot went out of style. You just couldn't do it in polite company," Ellison told The Huffington Post. "He's bringing it back. He's like very, very negative bell-bottoms or something. He's bringing back an old, ugly thing."
The congressman said there's nothing original about Trump, and people like him "always go down. They always lose." He couldn't say if he thought Trump would win the GOP presidential nomination. But if he did, Ellison said, the people he would hurt the most wouldn't be those he's offended -- Muslims, Mexicans, women, the black community and people with disabilities, to name some -- but white working-class people.
"Instead of meeting their needs, which is better wages, fair trade deals, real opportunity for their kids to go to college and for themselves to retire, what is he giving them? Poison," Ellison said. "Not all of them are eating it, but some are."
The Democrat said he thinks it will be a while longer before Trump's supporters realize that he's not offering them anything positive. When they do, he said he's hopeful they'll reject Trump and everything he represents.
"I believe the American people are going to see this fool for what he is," Ellison said.
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