UPDATE: Democratic Challenger Eldridge Calls On Sen. Boozman To Condemn Trump's Islam Rhetoric

Dec 9, 2015

File photo: Former US Attorney Conner Eldridge formally launching his US Senate campaign.
Credit Arkansas Times

UPDATE: Sen. Boozman responded to a KUAR request about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US. In a statement Boozman rejected rhetoric attacking Islam and called for tighter security.

"Our country has never had a religious test for who we accept as citizens and it never should. Trump’s proposal is not a serious plan and it goes against everything our country and party stand for.

We need a serious response to the threats our nation faces. We certainly need to enact the moratorium on resettlement of Syrian refugees that Senator Cotton and I called for after the Paris attacks and we need to take a thorough look at our visa system to ensure that we are not letting in individuals who wish to do harm to American citizens. Our goal must be to ensure that no terrorist can take advantage of the process to threaten the United States and its citizens, not to shut out individuals simply on the basis of their faith.

The one thing the federal government has to do is ensure national security. The administration must be able to assure Americans with confidence that those being given sanctuary are not coming here as threats to the U.S. The confidence of the American people that the government is taking the proper steps to ensure their protection simply isn’t there. That trust and confidence must be reestablished in a smart and effective manner.”  

Original post is below:

Arkansas politicians are continuing to weigh in on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s pledge for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” None of the state’s Congressman have directly embraced Trump’s rhetoric but Senator John Boozman has yet to comment. Boozman’s Democratic challenger and former US Attorney Conner Eldridge blasted him in e-mail to supporters Wednesday for not condemning Trump’s “dangerous” remarks.

“Banning people from the United States of America based on their faith is contrary to our founding principles -- and it sets a very troubling precedent.

That's why I'm calling on Senator Boozman to denounce Donald Trump once and for all, and asking Boozman to join me in working to end such hateful rhetoric in our political discourse.”

In late November, Boozman declined to comment to KUAR on a different set of Trump's Islam discourse. But he did reject the idea of having different rights for different people based on religious belief.

KAUFFMAN: There is some rhetoric that is just generally anti-Islam. Most recently Donald Trump floating the idea of closing mosques in parts of the United States, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have entertained the idea that only Christian Syrian refugees are welcome in America. Do you think that creates a dangerous environment for people in Arkansas who are Muslim? Do you think there’s a place for that kind of dialogue?

BOOZMAN: I can’t speak for others but my concern is about national security. The United States has been a very accepting country, we don’t have religious tests.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton has commented on Trump’s December 7 call to ban Muslims from entering the US. The freshman Republican senator took to the morning television talk show circuit on Wednesday, saying on MSNBC “I strongly disagree” with Trump’s proposal.

Both Cotton and Boozman previously indicated support for a measure to temporarily stop taking in Syrian and Iraqi refugees (not immigrants) while the vetting process is changed. That bill passed with unanimous support from Arkansas's US House delegation.

KUAR has reached out to Sen. Boozman's office and Eldridge's campaign for comment.