Donald Trump & Kellyanne Conway Are Saying Slightly Different Things About a Potential Muslim Ban

Conflicting reports are emerging from Trump and his aides about his plans for a Muslim ban following the Dec. 19 attack in Berlin, claimed by ISIS, that killed 12 people and injured 49.


Immediately after the attacks, Trump informed reporters that “You've known my plans all along...they've proven to be right, 100% correct. What's happening is disgraceful.” His words implied that he was more than happy to stand behind his plans to restrict or ban the immigration of Muslims into the United States—a policy that has drawn harsh criticism from both major parties since he first announced it during his presidential campaign. In fact, it was a centerpiece of that campaign, along with his equally problematic calls to build a wall along the U.S. southern border and send the bill to Mexico. The promise of a ban on all Muslims tapped into many Americans' fears of the growing power of the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

But by Thursday, Trump’s former campaign manager, transition aide and one-woman Trump clean-up crew, Kellyanne Conway, was on CNN promising us that what the president-elect actually meant was that scrutiny would be focused on “countries where we know that they've got a higher propensity of training and exporting terrorists,” rather than on a person’s religion. She went on to insist that, despite the fact that the policy has changed somewhat since being announced last year, "[Trump] doesn't go back and forth on anything based on criticism. I mean, if you're us, and certainly if you're him, you are impervious to naysayers and critics in terms of them changing policy." Any changes in the proposed ban were obviously due to new intelligence, not the fact that the ban was widely decried. Okay, sure, Kelly.


In line with this statement, Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller told the Associated Press, “President-elect Trump has been clear that we will suspend admission of those from countries with high terrorism rates and apply a strict vetting procedure for those seeking entry in order to protect American lives.” No word yet on which countries those vetting procedures would be applied to, though.

Trump has been holed up in his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago, working on finalizing cabinet picks and his White House team, so we haven’t heard anything else from him since his initial statements. But it’s already abundantly clear that Election Day didn’t mark the end of Trump’s aides being dispatched to sanitize and spin his inflammatory—and xenophobic—rhetoric.