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CNN host confronts Trump spokeswoman over Islamophobia claim
CNN's Jake Tapper debates with Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. - photo by Billy Hallowell
CNN host Jake Tapper confronted Katrina Pierson, spokeswoman for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, last Tuesday, openly pushing back after she made an on-air claim about Islamophobia.

The back-and-forth unfolded after Tapper asked Pierson if she and the Trump campaign are "uncomfortable" with the open support they've received from former KKK leader David Duke, among others, to which Pierson answered that she is not.

"No, because you cant control what other people do," she said before attempting to turn the conversation toward Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who recently received the support of Seddique Mateen, father of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen. "What makes me uncomfortable is when the father of a terrorist openly supports a presidential candidate."

Pierson went on to lament what she sees as the unfair disparaging of some conservative Americans, saying that citizens who want to secure the border and control immigration are often called racists or bigots.

Then, she proceeded to make a proclamation about ISIS one that riled Tapper.

"People who want to stop ISIS from coming into their communities are called Islamophobic," Pierson said. "These are hard-working American citizens."

Tapper immediately stepped in to push back against her statement.

"Katrina, no one has called people who don't want ISIS to move into their neighborhood Islamophobic," he said. "That has never happened in the history of the world."

Tapper continued, "People call people who hate Muslims Islamophobic, but people do not say that about people who do not want ISIS to move in."

Watch the debate here.

Pierson pushed back, though, saying that this is absolutely what unfolds, saying that Americans who speak out against bringing in Syrian refugees are sometimes labeled in this way.

The Trump spokeswoman also referenced some of the behaviors she's purportedly observed among Clinton's supporters, including people who purportedly engage in "burning the American flag, defacing public property (and) ... calling for cops to be murdered in the street."

The debate over Pierson's Islamophobia comment comes after Trump has faced intense scrutiny over a proposal he made last year to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the U.S.

As Deseret News has reported, Trump issued a campaign statement in December 2015 that called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

With controversy over that proposal raging throughout the first half of 2016, Trump later tweaked the language to say that, rather than a ban, he supports "extreme vetting" of people coming from countries impacted by terrorism.

In addition to that discussion, critics have pointed to Duke, among others, to say that Trump is attracting people with questionable viewpoints.

Clinton has, in fact, seized upon this very theme in speeches and a political ad, tweeting the following on Aug. 25: "There's a reason the most hateful fringe of the right wing is supporting Donald Trump."

Clinton and her campaign have taken aim at the so-called "alt-right," a movement that they say wants to preserve "white identity" and push back against multiculturalism.
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