Presumptive Republic presidential nominee Donald Trump has made a lot of hard promises during his candidacy. He became well-known for his plan to build a wall on the U.S-Mexican border. When he wasn't talking about erecting barriers to keep immigrants out, he was promising a ban on Muslims, citing terrorism concerns. But some are saying Trump's Muslim immigration policy is morphing toward something more moderate, and that we may just see a kinder, gentler Trump in the coming months.
In December 2015 (on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, no less), Trump issued a press release on Muslim immigration, 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." But in recent months, Trump has started to back away from a blanket ban on Muslims. In a May interview with Fox News Radio, he called such a ban "temporary" and said it was just a "suggestion." After the June 12 shooting in Orlando, Trump gave a speech qualifying the ban in a different way (sort of), saying, "I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism." A June 25 tweet called for a suspension only until there is a vetting process. A CNN report published Tuesday noted that Trump's "campaign is putting the finishing touches on a policy memo that would change his proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States."
To go from a complete ban on all Muslims to a suspension from specific regions until there is a "vetting" process is a shift in policy. But is it really much better? It doesn't define what "regions linked with terrorism" are. It still wants to cut out a large number of innocent people from immigrating to the United States. And it is still a policy based on exclusion.
Moreover, if you think this evolution is a sufficient softening of Trump (which by no means I find it to be), the question still remains as to how sincere it is. In the recent weeks, Trump has seen dipping numbers at the polls, is reportedly experiencing a fundraising problem, has had staff shakeups, and has seen members of the Republican establishment refuse to support him. All signs point to a candidate in need of help. In a June 26 interview with ABC's This Week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that Trump's personal platform, including restrictions on Muslim immigration, would not be a part of the Republican platform. So is Trump's change sincere, or is he just playing ball?
Any alleged revision doesn't ensure a kinder, gentler Trump. Let's remember that even if he is softening his positions on Muslim immigration, he is still firm on appointing anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. He still wants churches to keep their tax-exempt status even if they make political donations, thus narrowing the divide between Church and State. He still uses racist epithets to describe Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But most importantly of all, he has shown himself to be inconsistent. And if he is in fact willing to compromise policies he has built his platform on in order to get support from the establishment, what else is he willing to compromise?
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