Donald Trump is calling his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States a "temporary move" and comparing the plan to "presidential proclamations" made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Second World War.
In an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump would not say how exactly he would determine when to end the policy, saying "All it can be is a feel or a touch. We have to find it out."
Asked if his proposal goes against long-held American values, he responded: "No, because FDR did it!"
But Trump also insisted that he is not proposing "internment camps" like those that held Japanese Americans during World War II.
"We're not talking about internment. This is a whole different thing," he said, refusing to answer repeated questions about whether the camps violated American values.
The GOP frontrunner said in a statement Monday that he backs "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
That plan has been widely panned by observers on both sides of the aisle as blatantly unconstitutional and dangerous, although Trump's crowds have cheered the move.
Trump said on MSNBC that the idea is "common sense" and that it would not violate the Constitution - a statement at odds with legal scholars of all ideological stripes.
At one point, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough told producers to cut to commercial, objecting to Trump cutting off the hosts' questions.
The real estate mogul suggested that fears of a catastrophic terror attack should trump concerns about how his own proposals could violate the long-held freedoms associated with the United States.
"You should be afraid of the other side, not my side," he said.
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com