Donald Trump said that his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States is about safety, not religion.
During a Dec. 9 interview with ABC's "Live With Kelly and Michael," the Republican presidential front runner stood by his controversial call to temporarily close off the borders to all Muslims, in the wake of recent terrorism attacks, threats and fears.
"These are people that are outside the country, so we're really not talking about the Constitution," Trump told "Live With Kelly and Michael." "And it's not about religion. This is about safety."
He went on to explain that his proposal "has nothing to do with religion" and cited the September 11 tragedy as well as the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
"We have a problem in this country," the real estate mogul said, explaining that he did not intend for his words "to be outrageous," as host Michael Strahan suggested.
"Frankly, a lot of people knew that was going to happen," Trump said of the San Bernardino shooting. "A lot of people knew he had those guns and the rifles and the bombs, bombs all over the apartment."
Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan have denounced the proposal, released Dec. 7, calling it "not who [Republicans] are as a party," according to CNN.
"This is not conservatism," Ryan said on Dec. 8, adding, "Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims."
Others such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump's ban would be "completely inconsistent with American values" and pointed out that some world leaders who are close American allies would not be allowed into the country under his proposal.
But Trump was not phased by the party leaders' condemnations.
"You look at what went on in Paris," Trump said, according to ABC. "We have tremendous problems, it's getting worse and worse and those problems are coming from a certain sector."
"Our country has to get its act together," Trump said. "We need safety."