Trump's Muslim-ban statement back on website after briefly being removed

By Jose DelReal at Washington Post

Media seized on reports that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign staff had erased from his website a statement detailing his controversial proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration into the United States, one of the most divisive and controversial policy ideas of his campaign.

But today the statement was restored.

Trump, who has in the past insisted Muslim immigration posed a threat to the United States, in December called for "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."

"We can be politically correct and we can be stupid, but it's going to get worse and worse," Trump said in December during a campaign event in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where he read the statement released earlier in the day.

"Until we are able to determine and understand this problem, and the dangers the threat imposes, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad."

The proposal has met with massive backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike, who accused the then-candidate of scapegoating Muslims and race-baiting. Trump's critics have accused him of using racial grievances and fears of radical jihadism to motivate his base.

"I think Islam hates us," Trump said in March during an interview with CNN. "There's something there that - there's a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There's an unbelievable hatred of us."

The campaign sought to back away from that language earlier this year amid intense scrutiny after it was clear he would clinch the Republican presidential nomination.

The repackaged proposal shifted from focusing on Muslims in particular and instead saying immigration should be suspended "from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism." Many at the time saw it as an attempt to broaden his appeal beyond his base for the general election.

After shifting to a geography-based ban, Trump still made regular reference to jihadism and Muslims in speeches on the campaign trail. His campaign website still included the statement on the morning of Election Day, according to web caches.

- Washington Post

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