Updated Thursday, Dec. 10 11:34 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Community and religious leaders rallied on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday to denounce what they call Donald Trump‘s racist and anti-immigrant comments.
The protest came two days after the Republican presidential candidate called for a “complete and total ban” on Muslims entering the United States “until we are able to determine and understand this problem.”
“His rhetoric this election cycle has gone from mean to hateful and now dangerous,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “There is nothing left to say about Donald Trump except that he is a disgusting, racist demagogue who has no business running for president, period.”
“When someone has a faith and when someone is a Muslim that they simply should not be allowed to come to our country, our world, our democracy, it is simply unacceptable,” said Rabbi Bob Kaplan of the Jewish Communities Relations Council.
“I am asking all of our fellow Americans to take the scales off of their eyes and recognize that hatred can only lead to war,” said the Rev. Que English of the Bronx Christian Fellowship.
At one point, a heckler tried to defend Trump, but her shouts were drowned out by chants of “enough is enough,” WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
The danger now for Trump is if city officials decide to start looking at any contracts and any tax abatements he receives from the city. Mark-Viverito said that’s a real possibility, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“We are standing here saying that we are not going to allow racism to permeate this discourse and that we reject that,” said Mark-Viverito. “I think that we should question whether or not we should do business with him.”
Trump fired back at the City Council speaker in a statement, saying “Perhaps she should focus on taking care of the filthy conditions of New York City, the ever expanding homeless population and lowering taxes, along with Mayor de Blasio, widely considered the worst mayor in the United States.”
But Mark-Viverito was not the only political figure to voice concerns.
“The more he spews hatred, the more vulnerable the brand name is going to be, and obviously that is something we have to look at as we think about the city economy,” said City Comtroller Scott Stringer.
Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman also said he will do everything he can to make sure the city does no future business with Trump.
Appearing on “Live with Kelly and Michael” earlier Wednesday, Trump defended his proposal to close the nation’s borders to Muslims.
“We’re going to have tremendous problems,” the billionaire businessman said. “It’s getting worse and worse, and those problems are coming from a certain sector. Now, I did it for a limited period of time, but our country has to get its act together. We have people that don’t know what they’re doing, and we need safety. We want to make America great again, but we need safety in our country.”
Trump said his plan would not be unconstitutional because it doesn’t impact American citizens.
“These are people that aren’t in the country,” he said. “The people are in the country, they’re in the country. We’re not talking about them. These are people that are outside of the country, so we’re really not talking about the Constitution. And it’s not about religion; this is about safety. This has nothing to do with religion. This is about safety.”
Trump again said he wouldn’t rule out running as an independent if he is isn’t “treated fairly” by the Republican Party. Earlier this year, Trump signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee.
Trump went on to criticize Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying she doesn’t have the “strength or the stamina” to be president.
“She’s got a name,” Trump said. “People will stupidly vote for her. She doesn’t have the strength or the stamina.”
Wednesday’s New York City rally was not the only example of how opposition is mounting to Trump.
In Connecticut, religious groups are calling for the developer of the Trump Parc apartment complex to have the presidential candidate’s name removed from the building, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.
The Trump Parc is a 35-story building that opened in 2009 and is the tallest in Stamford.
In a letter to developer F.D. Rich and Co., advocates said the building’s name is “highly offensive to Fairfield County’s diverse multi-ethnic community.”
The developer says 90 percent of the apartments are sold, making it difficult to rename the building.
In Atlanta, someone painted large swastikas featuring Trump’s face with a Hitler mustache on at least two overpass supports. The graffiti was being removed by police, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
And in Jerusalem, some officials are up in arms after a report by The Jerusalem Post said Trump is considering a visit later this month to Temple Mount, the Jerusalem holy site that has been a source of friction between Palestinians and Israelis. The site includes the Al-Aqsa mosque.
“If Trump the racist plans to visit Al-Aqsa, the holiest place in the world for Muslims, to harm the sensitivities of people against whom he incites, he and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu will be responsible,” Taleb Abu Arrar, a member of the Knesset, told the newspaper.
“Such a visit will set the whole region on fire, I am warning,” Arrar added.
Because of recent unrest and violence in Israel, Trump’s tour might be limited; an effort made to keep him out of certain areas to avoid the possibility of protests.
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