Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who was recently selected to chair the Republican National Convention's platform committee, shied away from criticizing Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim entry to the U.S. -- a policy that Republican Senate leadership described in December as “completely inconsistent with American values.”
When Republicans distanced themselves from Trump’s controversial and unconstitutional Muslim ban last year, there were still over a dozen GOP presidential candidates, and lawmakers were likely hopeful they wouldn’t have to contend with Trump as their nominee.
Now that Trump has clinched enough delegates to secure the nomination, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked Barrasso to clarify the party’s position on the Muslim ban. It was clear that was the last thing Barrasso wanted to speak about, as he attempted to steer the conversation to jobs and wages, addressing the proposed ban only in vague references to the party’s platform on national security.
Here is their exchange:
JONATHAN KARL: Well, Trump has won. What -- where does the party now stand on that Muslim ban?
JOHN BARRASSO: You know, the platform is about the core values of our party. It's who we are, it's what we stand for, and I met with Donald Trump about it and he understands that the platform is very important to the Republican Party. It's going to be a conservative platform that's going to be positive, optimistic, looking to the future, focused on things like jobs, the economy, and national security. And what he was focused on with that ban is national security.
The platform is going to be focusing on growing the economy. We have too many Americans who are suffering the stagnant wages --
KARL: But --
BARRASSO: This 1 to 2 percent economic growth that we have here is -- cannot be the new normal for America. So the platform is going to be something that all Republicans can be proud of and national security is going to be a big part of it.
KARL: But I asked you very directly where does the Republican Party now stand on the idea of imposing a temporary ban on Muslims coming into this country? Donald Trump won; sixty percent of Republican voters in exit polls agreed with him on that proposal. You called it un-American. Where does it stand now?
BARRASSO: Well, the platform committee will meet in Cleveland in July for a full week before the convention. It's 112 members of the platform committee. And we've asked Donald Trump to allow the process to play out. He has agreed to do that. And I've asked him personally to embrace the platform and I believe he will. National security will be a big part of it.