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White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissed Republican hopeful Donald Trump's suggestion Monday to bar Muslims from visiting the U.S., and said Trump's comments will only divide America.

Calling Trump's idea a "proposal" is a "generous" description of what he's advocating, Earnest said while appearing on MSNBC shortly after Trump made his controversial pitch. Other GOP candidates were just as quick to distance themselves from Trump's comments.

"I think what Mr. Trump is doing is something that he's been doing over the course of his entire campaign, which is seeking to tap into a darker side, a darker element, and try to play on people's fears in order to build on support for his campaign," Earnest said.

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