Pres­i­den­tial candidate ‘no longer eyeing total block’, but wants the ‘ter­ror­ists out’

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

‘I would limit spe­cific ter­ror­ist coun­tries, and we know who those ter­ror­ist coun­tries are.’ – Don­ald Trump

From the mo­ment he first de­clared it, the plan has been a sig­na­ture of his cam­paign for pres­i­dent: “Don­ald J. Trump is call­ing for a total and com­plete shut­down of Mus­lims en­ter­ing the United States un­til our coun­try’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives can fig­ure out what is go­ing on.”

Yet from that first mo­ment, the Repub­li­can candidate for the White House has evaded ques­tions when pressed for de­tails. Now that he’s a pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee with slid­ing poll num­bers, his spokes­woman says he is no longer seek­ing the ban at all.

In its place, he’s of­fer­ing an ap­proach based on a stan­dard of ter­ror­ism that he and his cam­paign refuse to de­fine.

The ban idea orig­i­nated with 28 di­rect and force­ful words, is­sued im­me­di­ately af­ter the De­cem­ber shoot­ings in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, that killed 14 peo­ple. The blan­ket na­ture of the pro­posal, which ap­peared to stretch be­yond im­mi­gra­tion to in­clude any mem­ber of the Mus­lim faith seek­ing to cross the US bor­der, pro­voked a flurry of ques­tions.

Would it ap­ply to US cit­i­zens trav­el­ling or liv­ing abroad? Mem­bers of the armed forces? What about for­eign lead­ers seek­ing to visit the US, such as Jor­dan’s King Ab­dul­lah II - a staunch Amer­i­can ally? Or No­bel lau­re­ate Malala Yousafzai?

In re­sponse to ques­tions that day, Trump’s cam­paign man­ager at the time, Corey Le­wandowski, said the ban would ap­ply to “ev­ery­body” - in­clud­ing tourists and Mus­lims seek­ing im­mi­gra­tion visas.

In the fol­low­ing days, he of­fered shades of new de­tail. His ban would in­clude ex­emp­tions, in­clud­ing for ath­letes and world lead­ers. As he got closer to win­ning the GOP nom­i­na­tion, his lan­guage soft­ened fur­ther. Shortly af­ter en­dors­ing the bil­lion­aire, New Jer­sey Gov­er­nor Chris Christie sug­gested Trump had walked away from the plan.

“That’s not what he says any longer,” Christie told ABC News in Fe­bru­ary. “He’s backed off of that po­si­tion over the course of time.”

He hadn’t. But Trump was now stress­ing the “tem­po­rary” na­ture.

“It’s a tem­po­rary ban. It hasn’t been called for yet, no­body’s done it,” he said. “This is just a

sug­ges­tion un­til we find out what’s go­ing on.”

Then came the Orlando shoot­ings. A day af­ter the at­tack, he ap­peared to re­turn to his call for a blan­ket ban on Mus­lims - at least for a time. He said: “I called for a ban af­ter San Bernardino and was met with great anger. But now... many are say­ing that I was right to do so. And al­though the pause is tem­po­rary, we must find out what is go­ing on. We have to do it. It will be lifted, this ban, when and as a na­tion we’re in a po­si­tion to prop­erly and per­fectly screen these peo­ple com­ing in.”

Once again, he had is­sued a pol­icy pro­posal with lit­tle de­tail. Did this re­place the Mus­lim ban, or was it an ad­di­tion?

Cam­paign spokes­woman Hope Hicks said he no longer sup­ports his orig­i­nal ban and only wants to limit im­mi­gra­tion from states with ex­trem­ist el­e­ments.

Trump told Bloomberg News: “I want ter­ror­ists out. I want peo­ple that have bad thoughts out. I would limit spe­cific ter­ror­ist coun­tries, and we know who those ter­ror­ist coun­tries are.”

Asked to clar­ify whether Trump still sup­ports a ban on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the US as orig­i­nally pro­posed, a ban on im­mi­gra­tion from states as­so­ci­ated with ter­ror­ism, or strong vet­ting of peo­ple com­ing into the coun­try from such na­tions, Hicks said: “Mr Trump stated a po­si­tion con­sis­tent with his speech two weeks ago.” “He has been very clear,” she added in an email on Mon­day. It’s the press, she said, that has “tried to cause con­fu­sion”.

CHANG­ING STANCE: US pres­i­den­tial candidate Don­ald Trump

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