Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said Friday that he opposed creating a special database on Muslims in the U.S., calling it an "offense" to American Muslims serving in the military and their families.
Following the recent terrorist attacks in France, fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called for creating a database of American Muslims last week. Graham said that such calls run contrary to freedom of religion in the U.S.
"No, I'm running for president of the United States, where you can come and worship God your way or not at all," Graham said in a radio interview alongside Sen. John McCain on the Michael Medved Show.
He also said his administration would conduct surveillance based on "the conduct of your behavior."
"The only time you'll get surveilled if I'm president is based on the conduct of your behavior," Graham said.
"There are 3,500 American Muslims in uniform," Graham continued. "Such things are an offense to them, their families. What are they fighting for as American Muslims? The same freedoms that you and I enjoy. God bless them."
McCain highlighted the importance of presidential candidates acknowledging the words of the Constitutional, specifically, it's "freedom of religion" provision.
"Could I just say, Michael, does that mean that we should go on military bases and register those men and women who are serving in uniform who happened to be of the Muslim faith?" McCain said. "Give me a break. I suggest that one thing to be required of a candidate of the President of the United States, and that is read the Constitution, and one of the provisions of the Constitution is freedom of religion."
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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