Trump wanted ban ‘done legally’
WASHINGTON • Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani said President Donald Trump wanted a “Muslim ban” and requested he assemble a commission to show him “the right way to do it legally.”
Giuliani, an early Trump supporter once rumoured for a cabinet position, appeared on Fox News to describe how Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees came together.
Trump on Friday signed orders not only to suspend admission of all refugees into the United States for 120 days but also to implement “new vetting measures” to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists.” Refugee entry from Syria, however, would be suspended indefinitely, and all travel from Syria and six other nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — are suspended for 90 days.
Trump also said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.
“How did the president decide the seven countries?” Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked.
“I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani responded eagerly. “So when (Trump) first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ ”
Giuliani continued, saying he assembled a “whole group of other very expert lawyers on this,” including former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas, and Rep. Peter King of New York.
“And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger — the areas of the world that create danger for us,” Giuliani told Pirro. “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on. It’s not based on religion. It’s based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”
Clips of the exchange between Giuliani and Pirro quickly went viral Saturday night, with some claiming that Giuliani’s statement amounted to admitting Trump’s intent had been to institute a ban based on religion.
Others, including Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, have insisted it is not a ban on Muslims, but rather one based on countries from which travel was already restricted under the Obama administration.
The weekend firestorm facing the administration over religion was not limited to Muslims.
In a statement on Friday, President Donald Trump broke with the bipartisan practice of past presidents by failing to include any mention of the anti-Semitic views that fuelled the Holocaust and left six million Jews and millions of others dead.