Obama dubs calls to test all Muslims "repugnant"

Republican candidate Donald Trump called for "extreme vetting" on those entering the United States

Obama, White House, Nice,

Image: Carolyn Kaster / AP/Press Association Images

Barack Obama has called for unity in the wake of the attacks on Nice, dubbing calls for all Muslims in America be targeted or tested as "repugnant."

Speaking on Fox News, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called for "extreme vetting" for people coming from "terrorist nations" in the wake of the attacks in Nice, a suggestion which was followed up by Newt Gingrich on Friday. 

The former Speaker of the House, who had been touted as a possible vice-presidential candidate for Donald Trump before the announcement of Mike Pence, told Fox News that "western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported."

Speaking on Facebook Live, Gingrich also said: "If you are a practicing Muslim and you believe deeply in your faith, but you're also loyal to the United States and you believe in the Constitution, you should have your rights totally, completely protected within the Constitution.

"This is not about targeting a particular religion or targeting people," he added. "This is about looking at particular characteristics that we have learned painfully, time after time, involve killing people, involve attacks on our civilization."

Speaking at a reception for the Diplomatic Corps in the White House, Obama responded by stating that "the very suggestion is repugnant, and an affront to everything that we stand for as Americans. In contrast to these terrorists who only know how to kill and destroy, we're going to win this fight by building. 

"We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion," he added, "because that's exactly what the terrorists want. We should never do their work for them, and here in the Untied States, our freedoms, including freedom of religion, help keep us strong and safe. We have to be vigilant and defend our security and our freedoms."

Obama added that the thoughts and hearts of the American people were with the victims of the tragedy, and that it was an "appalling attack on the freedom and peace that we cherish."