Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the JetCenters of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 17, 2016.
Trump: Police fear profiling claims in terror fight
01:46 - Source: CNN

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It was not clear how Donald Trump wishes to profile suspects

The GOP nominee praised Israel's approach to profiling

Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump on Monday reiterated his support for the controversial practice of racial profiling by police amid increasing threats to the homeland.

“Our local police – they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling,” Trump said on Fox News on Monday. Trump pointed to how Israel used profiling and “done an unbelievable job.”

Trump did not say on what attributes he would encourage police to profile possible suspects, but It’s illegal for police to subject US persons to disparate treatment based on their race or other protected status.

“They see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile,” Trump said. “Look what’s going on: Do we really have a choice? We’re trying to be so politically correct in our country, and this is only going to get worse.”

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Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, disputed that Trump meant police should start “racial” profiling.

“I mean if authorities are going to look the other way, then at least we have a presidential candidate who is telling the Americans who say, ‘I’m are so tired of looking the other way’ we don’t have a vetting process, we don’t have borders,” she told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Outfront” Tuesday. “We have people so worried about political correctness that look at what this did the other night, people were injured.”

The man suspected in Saturday’s bombings in New York and New Jersey was captured Monday after a manhunt and shootout. Ahmad Khan Rahami is suspected of bombings Saturday in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, and is believed to be connected to pipe bombs found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey, sources told CNN.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on the issue of profiling Tuesday. But Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, defended Trump’s comments.

“I think it’s all about common sense,” Pence told MSNBC’s Kelly O’Donnell. “Talking with law enforcement officers, they’ll tell you that today they feel like they operate in an environment of political correctness, where they can’t use common sense to be able to target resources and target their energies against individuals who would be the most likely potential threat to our families and to the safety of our communities.”

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Pence acknowledged the difficult balance between smart policing and respecting civil liberties, but cited Rahami as an example of how political correctness can hinder law enforcement.

The FBI said Tuesday that Rahami’s father was interviewed after a tip alleging that he called his son a terrorist, but the FBI never investigated Rahami or placed him on a FBI database of potential terrorists.

“I don’t know why that occurred but it smacks of the kind of political correctness and eggshells that law enforcement feels that they have to walk on in the environment that we’re in today,” Pence said. “Of course it can (go wrong and infringe upon people’s rights), but we’re talking about common sense profiling.”

CNN’s Evan Perez, Manu Raju, Daniella Diaz and Naomi Lim contributed to this report.