Donald Trump refused to back down from his claim that ‘Islam hates us’ during tonight’s debate.

There is a ‘serious, serious problem of hate,’ Trump said during a GOP debate tonight in Miami, Florida.

He added: ‘There is tremendous hate, there is tremendous hate.’

Trump originally made the assertion yesterday during an CNN interview.

While not going as far as to say all 1.6 billion Muslims despise America, the Republican presidential candidate did not separate radical Islamic terrorism and the Islam as a faith.

Asked if he thought that the anger was coming from the religion itself, Trump, 69, threw the question back at interviewer Anderson Cooper and said that was for the media to work out themselves.

‘You’re gonna have to figure that out, OK?’; said Trump to Cooper. ‘We have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.’

At tonight’s debate, coincidentally hosted by CNN, network anchor Jake Tapper asked Trump the question again.

‘I mean a lot of them, I mean a lot of them,’ Trump said.

The businessman declined an opportunity to ‘clarify’ his remarks.

‘There’s something going on that maybe you don’t know about, maybe a lot of people don’t know about, but there’s tremendous hatred, and I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.’

Marco Rubio countered Trump and said, ‘I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says cause he says what people wish they could say.

‘The problem is, presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences, here and around the world.’

Rubio noted that many American men and women serving in uniform are Muslims.

‘They love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military,’ he said.

Continuing, Rubio said, ‘Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America. No matter what their religious background may be.’

Trump replied, ‘Marco talks about consequences. Well, we’ve had a lot of consequences, including airplanes flying into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and could have been the White House.

‘There have been a lot of problems.’

He told his opponent, ‘You can say what you want, and you can be politically correct if you want. I don’t want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. We have a serious, serious problem of hate. ‘

Trump said ‘large portions’ of Islamic followers ‘want to use very, very harsh means.’

‘Women are treated horribly, and other things are happening that are very, very bad,’ he said.

Rubio told him in response, ‘I’m not interested in being politically correct. I’m interested in being correct.’

In order to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, Rubio said, ‘we are going to have to work together’ with Muslims ‘who are not radicals.’

Asked for his take on the issue, and whether Islam ‘hates’ America as Trump said, Ohio Governor John Kasich said: ‘No, I don’t.’

‘I think there is a sect of, you know, this radical Islam that is really, really serious, and poses the greatest threat to us today,’ he said. ‘There isn’t any question. And that’s why the whole world has to work together to make sure that we don’t have proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction.’

Yesterday Trump claimed the invasion of Iraq was the ‘worst decision in the history of the United States’.

Indeed, he described Saddam Hussein as a great ‘terrorist hunter’ and suggested following the dictator’s execution, Iraq became the ‘Harvard of terrorism’.

Speaking to Anderson Cooper on CNN, Trump insisted: ‘I think Islam hates us. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.’

Asked by Cooper whether he thought there was a ‘war between the West and radical Islam’ or ‘war between the West and Islam itself,’ Trump said, ‘It’s radical, but it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.’

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