WASHINGTON — Donald Trump singled out France as one country he would subject to the ''extreme vetting'' he is proposing for those seeking to enter the United States, a move he says is necessary to deter attacks by people coming from countries ''compromised by terrorism.''
The GOP presidential nominee, in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's ''Meet the Press,'' was asked if his proposal might mean that ultimately far fewer people from overseas would be allowed into the United States.
''Maybe we get to that point,'' Trump replied, adding: ''We have to be smart and we have to be vigilant and we have to be strong.''
In the interview, Trump also rejected suggestions that his stance on requiring NATO members to pay their share was a mistake, and defended Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who left the network amid accusations of sexual harassment.
Trump criticized rival Hillary Clinton's newly named running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, for accepting gifts while Virginia's governor and dismissed descriptions of his nomination acceptance speech as ''dark,'' instead calling it ''optimistic." He also expressed disapproval of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who is seeking a Senate seat from Louisiana.
Trump reiterated that he wouldn't release his tax returns until an IRS audit is complete, although such an inquiry doesn't bar him from making the documents public. Trump also said he believes 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the election because of a public scrutiny of his taxes.
For months, Trump has called for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims seeking to enter the United States and criticized the Obama administration for continuing to admit refugees from Syria.
In his speech Thursday night at the Republican convention, he said the United States ‘‘must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place’’ — notably leaving out any reference to Muslims or to Syria, Iraq, and other Mideast nations.
In the NBC interview, Trump noted ''specific problems'' in Germany and France and was asked if his proposal would limit immigration from France because they have been compromised by terrorism.
Trump replied: ''They have totally been. And you know why? It's their own fault. Because they allowed people to come into their territory.'' He then called for ''extreme vetting'' and said: ''We have to have tough, we're going to have tough standards. . . . If a person can't prove what they have to be able to prove, they're not coming into this country.''