Trump stalls on promise for 'total and complete shutdown' of Muslims entering the United States
Donald Trump as a presidential candidate called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, claiming large segments of the population had "great hatred towards Americans." But he also suggested that he wasn't calling for a ban, and then said he wasn't backtracking.
Let's sort out what's happened so far.
"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," it said.
Trump said polling and research backed his concerns over Muslims. But polling experts questioned the validity of the poll Trump cited and the center who issued the poll cautioned against generalizations.
Trump tweaked his message in his Republican nomination acceptance speech July 21, 2016: "We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place."
This prompted NBC's Chuck Todd to ask Trump if he was rolling back his stance on banning Muslims.
"I actually don't think it's a rollback. In fact, you could say it's an expansion. I'm looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can't use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I'm okay with that, because I'm talking territory instead of Muslim," Trump said in an interview aired July 24, 2016.
As president, Trump has signed two executive orders — one in January and a replacement in March — to temporarily halt entry of nationals from several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa. His administration said the countries were selected due to their connection to terrorism.
Challenges in courts halted the orders' implementation.
• Trump, Jan. 29: "To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion. This is about terror and keeping our country safe."
• Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, Jan. 31: "I think the president has talked about extreme vetting and the need to keep America safe for a very, very long time. At the same time, he's also made very clear that this is not a Muslim ban, it's not a travel ban. It's a vetting system to keep America safe."
• Vice President Mike Pence, Feb. 2: "It's not a Muslim ban. It's not in any way associated with religion."
Trump called for a Muslim ban as presidential candidate. As president, he has denied that his administration has directed a Muslim ban. We rate this promise Stalled.
Donald Trump campaign website, Statement on preventing Muslim immigration, Dec. 7, 2017
ABC News, Christmas Party May Have Triggered San Bernardino Terror Attack: Police, Dec. 1, 2016
NBC News, Mosque Members Say Shooter Syed Farook Seemed 'Peaceful,' Devout, Dec. 3, 2015
PolitiFact, Trump cites shaky survey in call to ban Muslims from entering US, Dec. 9, 2017
NBC News, Transcript, Meet the Press, July 24, 2016
PolitiFact, Trump's travel ban executive order, take 2, March 6, 2017
PolitiFact, Suspend immigration from terror-prone places, last updated March 16, 2017
The Hill, Kamala Harris: 'Make no mistake — this is a Muslim ban', Jan. 27, 2017
PolitiFact, Is Donald Trump's executive order a 'Muslim ban'?, Feb. 3, 2017
White House, President Donald J. Trump Statement Regarding Recent Executive Order Concerning Extreme Vetting, Jan. 29, 2017
White House, Statement by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Jan. 31, 2017
Fox News Insider, VP Pence Defends 'Extreme Vetting' Policy: It's Not a 'Muslim Ban', Feb. 2, 2017
Today, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on TODAY: 'I will never support a Muslim ban', March 16, 2017
Establish a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Donald Trump promised during the primary race that he would halt Muslim immigration to the United States in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil.
"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 the hell is going on," he said at a December 2015 rally.
In the general election, he changed his position, instead calling for a ban on immigration from regions with a history of terrorism. But Trump hasn't explicitly backed off his Muslim ban proposal, and it's still on his website.
WHY HE'S PROMISING IT
Trump is concerned that foreign Muslims have hostile views of the United States and that the government is unable to thoroughly vet immigrants from conflict areas like Syria.
He made the promise days after a married Muslim couple went on a shooting spree in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people. The husband was born in the United States to Pakistani immigrants, and the wife was a legal immigrant born in Pakistan.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
Trump will have broad authority to stop certain groups from immigrating to the United States. Past presidents banned Iranians during the Iran hostage crisis, as well as known communists during the Cold War.
The president gets this authority from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. The law says the president can "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens."
WHAT'S STANDING IN HIS WAY
Politics likely would block a full Muslim ban. Leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties criticized the proposal when Trump first floated it. Congress could take away his authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
"What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for," said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a Dec. 8, 2015, press conference.
Experts say it would be difficult to implement a Muslim ban because of the inability to definitively verify someone's religion.
If Trump were to implement a ban on all Muslims, the United States would be the only country to have a religion test at its border.