DON’S PLAN FOR ‘MUSLIM BAN’
Presidential candidate ‘no longer eyeing total block’, but wants the ‘terrorists out’
‘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