Blunt Keeps Safe Distance from Trump Bandwagon

Kevin Killeen @KMOXKilleen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – At a printing plant to promote his plan for more jobs through less government regulation, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt winced when asked to weigh in on Donald Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of immigrants to combat Islamic terrorism.

“I don’t try to keep track of what he’s saying everyday, or how he’s saying it,” Blunt said.

In Ohio this week, Trump laid out his plan for more careful screening of immigrants to determine whether they share Western values such as tolerance for religion or sexual orientation. Trump also wants a ban on immigration from countries with a history of terrorism.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference before a public signing for his new book "Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again," at the Trump Tower Atrium on November 3, 2015 in New York City. According to a new poll, Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, has pulled ahead of Trump with 29% of Republican primary voters. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The story dominated the news cycle most of Monday, but Blunt says he was not aware of Trump’s comments.

“I think if the comment was that we need to be more careful about vetting people who are coming out of areas of conflict, that would be true,” Blunt said.

But Blunt quickly adds — the vetting should not be based on religion.

“It should have nothing to do with their religious belief as much as much as it should with the extent of their ideology and what associations they have had,” Blunt said.

A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Blunt says the threats against U.S. national security are “real” and immigration is a legitimate concern.

“I think it’s obvious what’s happened in Europe that people have come in under the cover of others fleeing for safety,” Blunt said.

Blunt says if the Obama Administration had worked with Jordan to create a “safe zone” for people fleeing the civil war in Syria, the refugee crisis would not be so acute.

Blunt’s fielded questions on immigration amid a campaign tour of a printing plant in Creve Couer, where he touted the need for less government regulation to spur business growth and create new jobs.

“Everybody wants to have all the regulations that are essential to public safety and health,” Blunt said, “But regulations that only get in the way of our ability to compete, and hurt the kind of jobs that help our families, are not the regulations we need.

Blunt cited as examples: the Clean Power Rule and the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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