“We should be monitoring every mosque. We should be monitoring all social media.”
Not the words of Donald Trump, but the words of Paul Nehlen, the man who is competing against Paul Ryan for Wisconsin’s first Congressional district.
The primary election on 9 August took on national significance last week when Mr Trump initially refused to endorse Mr Ryan, who as Speaker of the House of Representatives is the Republican Party’s most senior elected official.
And a look at Mr Nehlen’s policies explains why Mr Trump might have been impressed by the longshot outsider – and was not only motivated by his cool relationship with Mr Ryan.
In fact Mr Trump helped get Mr Nehlen’s campaign moving when he thanked him for his “kind words” on twitter.
The show of appreciation will be important for the 47-year-old, shortly before the Wisconsin Republican primary on 9 August.
His campaign has also tapped into many American’s concerns about immigration, security and terrorism.
In an interview with a Chicago radio show last week, Mr Nehlen said he still supported Mr Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US.
Thanks to @pnehlen for your kind words, very much appreciated.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
He said that Congress should debate deporting all Muslims, and he advocated monitoring Muslims’ places of worship and their social media.
“I’m suggesting we have a discussion about it. That’s for sure,” he said on 560 AM’s “Morning Answer” show.
His views may sound alien to some but are in lock-step with other high-profile and controversial Republicans and Trump supporters, including former house speaker Newt Gingrich, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In a campaign video on his website, Mr Nehlen, who works for a water filtration and disinfection company, talked of little girls dreaming about heir future and those dreams being destroyed by Paul Ryan’s “failure” to enforce immigration reform and secure the US border.
“Maybe she’ll be killed by an illegal immigrant in a car crash or a home invasion, or a vicious, violent assault – the kind that happens to men and women all across this country each year,” he warned.
On his twitter profile, Mr Nehlen said he is driven by “coffee and optimism”.
“I have been honoured and privileged and humbled to spend time with mothers who have lost their beautiful American children to illegal immigrant violence, enabled by sanctuary cities, which Paul Ryan has funded, and allowed in by open borders that Paul Ryan has left open,” he continued in the video.
— Paul Nehlen (@pnehlen) August 6, 2016
At a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, at the weekend, he welcomed right-wing columnist and author Ann Coulter to the stage. Ms Coulter said the US could “save loads of money on Muslim vetting/surveillance/resettlements costs”.
Mr Ryan, although he endorsed Mr Trump, has publicly opposed the ban on Muslims as recently as June this year, some seven months after Mr Trump first proposed it after the terrorist attacksin November 2015.
Mr Trump has defended his proposal many times since November, pointing to so-called terrorist and Isis-related or inspired attacks in San Bernardino, Istanbul, Paris and Brussels.
The subject of anti-Muslim sentiment gained traction around the time of the party’s convention after Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a fallen Muslim solder in the Iraq War, spoke at the Democratic National Convention and urged Mr Trump not to smear Muslims’ characters and to read the US Constitution.
On the Chicago radio show, Mr Nehlen said circumstances had changed since Humayun Khan died serving his country.
“More Muslim Americans – 20 – have been killed since 9/11 fighting for Isis than have been killed fighting for America,” he said.
Mental health research has discovered that an increasing number of America’s 3.3 million Muslims are suffering trauma due to Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
A total of 89 per cent of 200 participants reported that Islamophobia during the 2016 presidential election caused “some” or “extreme” negative impact on them and their families, as reported by the Observer.
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