Donald Trump appears to be perplexed by the outrage his anti-Muslim remarks have incited in Britain, where some called for the U.S. presidential hopeful to be barred from entering the country. The real estate mogul said Tuesday that British lawmakers "should be thanking me instead of pandering to political correctness," the Telegraph reported.
“I only said what needed to be said, and when I am elected no one will be tougher or smarter than me," Trump said in a statement. "I will work very hard and effectively to defeat terrorism." He added that he has "done so much" for Britain, referring to his golf courses and resorts in Scotland.
Trump's remarks were in response to a viral petition that criticized his anti-Muslim rhetoric, as well as those who have condemned his assertions that police were afraid to visit "radicalized" parts of London. The petition, which has garnered more than 370,000 signatures, was originally launched in response to Trump's proposal Monday to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Britain's Parliament considers any petition posted on its site that receives more than 100,000 signatures.
“The U.K. has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech,” the petition says. “The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the U.K.”
Trump proposed a "total and complete" travel ban Monday against Muslims entering the United States, asserting that "large" segments of Muslims hold a "great hatred" toward Americans.
"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Trump said in a statement. "Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."
Members of Britain's Parliament condemned Trump's comments, but said Britain would not block Trump from entering the country, the Guardian reported.
“The best way to defeat nonsense like this is to engage in robust and democratic debate, and to make it clear his views are not welcome," George Osborne, Parliament's chancellor of the exchequer, said.
The woman behind the petition said she was stunned by its popularity. Suzanne Kelly from Aberdeen, Scotland, said she started the petition to give people a platform to say they do not agree with Trump's remarks.
“I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would get so many signatures in under 24 hours," Kelly told the Guardian. "I thought it would be a huge victory if it got to 100,000 signatures by the end of its lifetime, so I’ve been as shocked as anyone, although pleasantly so.”