A statement calling for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the US was apparently removed from President Donald Trump’s official campaign website after a reporter asked about it at a press briefing Monday.
Cached pages from the website Archive.org confirmed that the statement was on Trump’s campaign website Monday morning, but it seems to have disappeared after ABC News’ Cecilia Vega questioned White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the wording.
“The White House is no longer calling this a Muslim ban as the president did initially,” Vega said. “Why does the president’s website still explicitly call for ‘preventing Muslim immigration’?”
Spicer said he was not aware of what was on the Trump campaign’s website but said that the administration has referred to the immigration crackdown as a “travel ban” implemented in the US’ national security interests since Trump’s first day in office.
“We’ve been very consistent since the first day of this administration on this,” Spicer said.
Vega then noted that since Trump took office, the administration has insisted that Trump’s executive order is not a travel ban.
The idea behind executive order was part of Trump’s platform while he was running for president, and people colloquially referred to it as a “travel ban” or “Muslim ban.” After Trump implemented such a ban upon taking office, the administration balked at characterising it as a “travel ban.”
“Is it worth standing here, though, and completely disavowing the use of that phrase, ‘Muslim ban’?” Vega asked. “I mean, if it’s still on the website, if the president’s words were being used against him in court today, is it worth you clarifying that once and for all.”
Trump’s executive order was blocked by a judge in Hawaii after it was issued, and the three-member 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear a case on the judge’s injunction on Monday.
Spicer said that he didn’t see a need to clarify.
“I think the intent of the travel ban was very clear,” he said. “I think it was something the president made very clear in the filings that we have filed — why he did it, the motives for doing it, and it was very clear when he spoke about it from the beginning.”
He continued: “So there really shouldn’t be any question as to why the president’s doing this in the idea of making sure that we’re putting the safety of our country and our people first and foremost.”
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