Republican front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes Islam "hates us" — referring to the United States — and called on the U.S. to "expand" it's use of enhanced interrogation techniques against terrorist groups.
"I think Islam hates us," Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a sit-down interview. "There’s something there that — there’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us."
The brash billionaire was responding to a question from Cooper, who asked Trump if he believes that "Islam is at war with the West." When pressed, Trump deferred but did say that it's "very hard to separate" peaceful Muslims from Islam's radical adherents.
"It’s radical, but it's very hard to define; it’s very hard to separate because you don’t know who’s who," Trump said.
Trump went on to explain that he believes the U.S. should escalate their usage of enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.
"We have to the play the game at a much tougher level than we’re playing it. We have to expand those laws," he said. "Everyone believes in the Geneva Convention until they start losing and then they say let's take out the bomb."
Trump has been widely criticized for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., which he contends is necessary, given how difficult it is to properly screen refugees and those seeking asylum stateside.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: