Less than a year ago, Donald Trump made the bold and controversial declaration that, if elected president, he would enact a ban on Muslims entering the United States. During Sunday night’s presidential debate, the Republican presidential nominee received a question on whether his proposal still stands ― and if not, why his position changed.
“The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into [an] extreme vetting from certain areas of the world,” he said.
He proceeded to attack President Obama and Hillary Clinton for supporting the country’s efforts to welcome refugees from war-torn areas of the world, including Syria. And he still has not said whether he thinks his initial proposal was a mistake, despite drawing criticism from many fellow Republicans.
Perhaps what Trump doesn’t want to admit is that enforcing a ban on an entire religion is unwise, dangerous and potentially unconstitutional. But rather than apologizing, he has tried to mold the proposal into something that appears more palatable on the surface.
But the fact remains ― the press statement that first announced the ban in December is still on his website, and Trump’s rhetoric is as Islamophobic as ever.
Let’s take a look at exactly how Trump’s proposed Muslim ban has morphed over the last year:
Donald Trump calls for
a "complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S. in a statement emailed to reporters. A press release
announcing the proposal is simultaneously published to his website -- where it remains to this day.
The Trump campaign releases a video ad called "Great Again TV Spot
" that doubles down on his proposed Muslim ban, but now it includes the word "temporary."
During a Wisconsin town hall with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Trump suggests
the Muslim ban might have some "exceptions" -- including for his "rich" Muslim friends.
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
In a conversation
with Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Trump says his call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States was “just a suggestion.”
“We have a serious problem, and it’s a temporary ban — it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” Trump says.
Trump ramps up
his proposal following the Orlando shooting
and dares Congress to get in his way. But the wording of the ban has already shifted.
“I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats," Trump tells a small audience at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
During a trip to the UK, Trump responds to a question about Muslims immigrating to the U.S. from Scotland and he responds
, "It wouldn't bother me." Later that day he tells
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond he only wanted to focus on “people coming from the terror states.”
Bill Clark via Getty Images
During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention
, Trump says, “We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place."
The Washington Post via Getty Images
whether his comments at the Republican National Convention indicated a rollback of his initial proposal to enact "a complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S., but he says no. “In fact, you could say it’s an expansion," he tells NBC's Chuck Todd. He continues
to say he would target nations "compromised by terrorism," and hints this could apply to countries like France and Germany.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence suggests
Trump's "Muslim ban" might apply to Christians, Jews and people of other faiths. Speaking with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes, Pence echoes Trump's proposal to "temporarily suspend immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism." When Sykes asks whether the ban would apply to Christians, Jews and others from “compromised” countries, as well as Muslims, Pence suggests that would be the case.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
During a campaign event at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump calls once again for "extreme vetting" of people trying to immigrate to or visit the United States, and he adds a proposal
to use an ideological screening test to weed out those who don't "share our values and respect our people."
Jeff Swensen via Getty Images
Despite repeatedly calling for "extreme vetting" of Muslims trying to enter the country, Trump essentially admits
during a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio that such vetting might not even work.
"We don't know where these people come from," he tells the crowd while discussing Syrian refugees. "We don't know if they have love or hate in their heart, and there's no way to tell."
In interviews with CNN’s “New Day” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe," Pence responds to questions about his running mate's proposed Muslim ban saying “of course” Trump no longer wants to ban all Muslims from the country.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo presses him on why he no longer condemns Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from the country, and Pence responds
, "Well, because it’s not Donald Trump’s position now."
Bloomberg via Getty Images
In response to a question during the second presidential debate, Trump says
his proposed Muslim ban has "morphed into [an] extreme vetting from certain areas of the world." When ABC News' Martha Raddatz presses him to say whether the ban is still his position -- and if not, why -- he repeats that his proposal is now for "extreme vetting."
Trump's proposal to ban an entire religion from entering the country was never a good idea. These twists and turns haven't improved upon it in the least. But don't expect an about face from the Donald anytime soon.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly
political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe,
racist, misogynist and birther who has
repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from
entering the U.S.