A spokesperson for the Donald Trump campaign insisted Friday that the billionaire's controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. never actually applied to all Muslims.
"What Mr. Trump is saying is that all of his policies are suggestions, like any other candidate," spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said, when asked by CNN host Wolf Blitzer if the real estate mogul has softened his position on certain issues. "We all recalled that time where if you liked your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Guess what? That actually didn't stay the policy."
"He has not backpedaled on his Muslim ban," she added. "He said he would back off of it in an instant if things have taken place where we can properly vet individuals. So this media outcry of how Trump has somehow backed off his Muslim ban, I find quite absurd. Because that's simply not the case."
Blitzer pressed her on the issue, asking about a December statement Trump issued calling for a "total and compete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
"Does he still stand by his position that there should be a temporary ban on all Muslims coming to the United States?" the CNN host asked. "Because now he's saying also that's a suggestion."
"Well, I've actually heard that the ban included all Muslims. But it didn't," Pierson claimed. "The fact of the matter is that if you go back and look at the policy, it was an immigration policy. It never included American Muslims living overseas. It never included anyone other than those looking to immigrate into this country. So even that has been total media spin and completely false."
Blitzer asked if Trump still maintained that there should be a ban with only a "few exceptions" for individuals like King Abdullah or the newly-elected London mayor.
"Well, we are talking about two different things. The initial proposal, which was a ban on Muslims coming into the country as an immigration policy, that talked about until what we can figure out what's going on. Now we're talking about people like King Abdullah or the London mayor," Pierson replied. "Those people we know who they are. We know where they stand. So those are the exceptions he's talking about."
"If we don't know who an individual is, coming in from a Muslim country, there's no paperwork, no way to identify his intentions, then those people need to undergo additional process of evaluation. He's just siding with our own national security advisors," the Trump spokeswoman added.
"But when he made the initial statement, it wasn't just an immigration policy. It was on all Muslims, including tourists who wanted to get a visa," Blitzer pressed.
"It wasn't," Pierson said. "I would highly suggest you go back to the original statement that he read from and the statement that was sent out to every single media outlet. In the subject line, it said immigration. That's the policy banner."
"So he never meant that tourists would be banned from coming to the United States? Is that what you're now saying?" Blitzer asked.
"What I'm saying it was it was an immigration policy, it never included every single Muslim," Pierson said.
[sharequote align="center"]"[I]t never included every single Muslim."[/sharequote]
"Katrina, was there a ban of Muslim tourists coming to the United States until the U.S. could figure out what was going on? Was that included?" Blitzer asked again.
"If these individuals could not be identified and did not have proper work, then absolutely," Pierson said.
"But if they could be identified, had the proper paperwork, would he allow Muslim tourists to come to the United States?" Blitzer asked once more.
"Those are the exceptions Wolf. Those are the exceptions Wolf," the Trump spokeswoman said. "If we can identify you, know where you came from, and can define your intentions, then of course, those would be the exceptions."
In Dec I asked Trump's campaign manager whether Trump meant immigrants or also tourists etc. He replied: "Everyone" https://t.co/DSC48iYonY— Michael van Poppel (@Michael van Poppel)1463194490.0
"But you remember, he called it a 'total and complete shutdown' at the time. Remember?" Blitzer asked.
"Yes, that's the immigration policy," Pierson said. "You're absolutely right."
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