A man who appears to be a committed supporter of Republican front-runner Donald Trump has been arrested on the suspicion that he was planning an attack on American Muslims in his California community. Local police received a tip from a caller who said that 55-year-old William Celli was making devices and talking about hurting Muslims. Police evacuated the man’s neighborhood and performed a controlled detonation before allowing residents to return, according to local CBS affiliate KCBS-TV.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations was quick to classify Celli’s alleged plans as domestic terrorism, noting that the group is concerned with what it sees as heightened violent views toward Muslims as a result of “Islamophobic political rhetoric.” Trump, following terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California and Paris, France, took a hard line toward Muslims coming into the United States, proposing that they all be banned until Congress can understand the threat the nation faces.
“Donald trumps on again I’m happy leaders okay but this guys a great point man,” Celli wrote on Facebook in October. “I’ll follow this MAN to the end of the world.”
His Facebook includes several other posts that indicate that Celli agreed with much of what Trump has said on the campaign trail, including his remarks toward Hispanics.
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) December 21, 2015
Trump’s comments have drawn quite a bit of criticism, though, even if his support appears to be undamaged in national polls. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican, said that a theoretical ban on Muslims wouldn’t make it through the Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is also a Republican, said that Trump does not represent the thoughts of the party.
On the Democratic side, criticism has ranged from calling the Republican a “demagogue” to saying that Trump’s incendiary comments are fueling anti-American sentiment abroad and playing into the Islamic State group's recruitment efforts.