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Hochul calls Trump's remarks on Muslims 'foreign to the American way'

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While visiting a Buffalo-based center Tuesday that assists recently arrived refugees with settling in Western New York, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was asked about presidential candidate Donald Trump and his call for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S.

Hochul visited Journey's End Refugee Services, located within the Tri-Main Building in Buffalo, and chatted with representatives of the center's many stakeholders. She also toured the center's English language education services before meeting with reporters. After speaking in praise of Journey's End and its mission to assist international refugees living legally in Western New York, she faced questions about Trump's remarks.

"They're so extreme, they can't even be entertained seriously," said Hochul. "To now have a litmus test, a religious test, to be able to come into this country, we've never done that before. Our governor has said, time and time again, the Statue of Liberty in our harbor represents what our state and our country are. We welcome people, and to even entertain what Donald Trump suggested is very foreign to the American way."

When asked if Trump was perhaps making an outrageous statement to draw media attention upon himself, Hochul replied that she cannot say what motivates the businessman and presidential hopeful. But she also expressed some confidence that American voters will ultimately reject his extremism.

"I think it's a story today and it's going to move on. Hopefully more reasonable voices will dominate this debate, because the occupant of the White House holds tremendous power on many fronts, but particularly to defend us against terrorism. I want someone in that position who is tested, who's got the experience dealing with foreign leaders, who has diplomatic skills, who's ready to step in and lead."

Hochul told reporters that Journey's End will continue to get their public support, emphasizing that they assist refugees who are here legally. They are immigrants who, Hochul added, are just the latest who come here to escape persecution because of religious faith or political beliefs. 

"We have benefited as a community tremendously from the number of refugees who have made this their home," Hochul said. "You look at the diversity on the West Side of Buffalo, filling an area that had been left behind by what used to be Italian immigrants there. 

"It was being run down, decrepit, and they have brought new life into a part of Buffalo that had really been left for gone."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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