President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to stand by his plans to establish a registry for Muslims and temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from the United States.
Speaking outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump did not walk back the proposals after he was asked by a reporter whether he was rethinking or reevaluating them in the wake of a fresh terrorist attack in Berlin.
“You know my plans,” Trump said.
He went on to add that the attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which was claimed by the Islamic State, had vindicated him. German authorities are seeking a 24-year-old Tunisian migrant, whom they say has ties to Islamist extremists, in connection with the attack, which killed 12 people and injured dozens.
“All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One-hundred-percent correct,” Trump said. “What’s happening is disgraceful.”
Trump has long called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and has expressed openness to a registry of Muslims already in the country.
A year ago, in a statement, Trump said he wanted a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
The proposal was sharply criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. And later, Trump’s senior aides and surrogates sought to soften the proposal, suggesting that Trump would support a ban on immigration only from countries that had been compromised by terrorism.
But given an opportunity on Wednesday to clarify his remarks, Trump suggested that his plans stood as he had articulated them early in his campaign. The statement proposing a “complete” shutdown of Muslim immigration remains on Trump’s website. And Trump has not clarified how exactly he would address the issue as president.
In response to other questions from reporters outside Mar-a-Lago, Trump said that he had last spoken to President Barack Obama two days ago.
He was also asked about his characterization of the Berlin attack as an attack on Christians.
“ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad,” Trump had said in a statement issued after the attack on Monday.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared unfamiliar with the statement issued in his name.
“Who said that?” Trump countered, challenging the reporter. “It’s an attack on humanity. That’s what it is. An attack on humanity, and it’s got to be stopped.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Abby Phillip