When asked about the response to the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday, Donald Trump seemed to reverse his position on a total ban of Muslims entering the United States. In the morning, Trump emphasized tighter immigration surveillance, as opposed to a total shutdown. In the evening, he seemed to double down on the ban, saying, “We have no choice.”
I didn’t say shut it down. I said you have to be very careful. We have to be very, very strong and vigilant at the borders. We have to be tough. … We have people who are coming into our country who are undocumented. We have no idea who they are or where they came from. They could be ISIS-related.
Compare this to his campaign’s statement in December of last year:
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.
Does Trump now think that our country’s representatives have figured out “what is going on?”
One of the hosts noted that “most of the attackers were born in Brussels and in France,” and asked Trump if he would “call for a ban now on American-born Muslims.” To this question, Trump effectively said no, in dodging the issue.
“We have people in our country and we have to protect the people in our country, but we have to be careful,” he said. “We have people living in our country that want to do great harm to our country, so we have to be careful.”
Trump did encourage average Americans to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity and report it to the police. He continued to warn about a certain type of Muslims, saying “they are not assimilating. We can’t have a country based on that — they want Sharia law!” He noted that this code of Islamic law is “catastrophic for women.”
Later in the afternoon, Trump went back to the Muslim ban, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:
Blitzer: Would you continue to support at least a temporary ban on all Muslims coming into the United States?
Trump: We have no choice. And you’re going to make certain exceptions…heads of state and certain people, and I’m not saying you don’t do that, but we have a real problem and people don’t have any idea what’s going on. We have a government that’s impotent, that doesn’t get it.
Even if he did reverse his official position against Muslim immigration, Trump went right back to it later on. Even in the CBS interview, he warned that “people can be smart or they can be politically correct.” As for smart policy, however, it seems The Donald cannot make up his mind.