Right-wing media deflected criticism of Donald Trump's proposed plan to ban all Muslim entry into the U.S. by pushing his claim that it would be “temporary,” even though experts say any such ban would be “unconstitutional” and could fuel extremist ideology.
Donald Trump Calls For “Total And Complete Shutdown Of Muslims Entering The United States”
Trump: Muslims Should Be Banned From Coming Into The United States “Until Our Country's Representatives Can Figure Out What's Going On.” On December 7, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump published a press release “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.” Trump's statement claimed that “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population,” and that “until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life”:
Donald J. Trump is 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. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.
Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” [DonaldJTrump.com, 12/7/15]
Trump Calls Proposed Ban On Muslims “Temporary” During TV Appearances
Trump On CNN: Proposal Is “A Temporary Situation.” On the December 8 edition of CNN's New Day, Trump told Chris Cuomo that his plan was “a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”:
DONALD TRUMP: I have people that are friends living in Paris, they want to leave. They're petrified.
CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): But what are they doing? Are they banning all Muslims?
TRUMP: Well let's see. Maybe they're going to have to. Maybe they're going to have to do something.
CUOMO: That's not even on the table.
TRUMP: I'm talking about a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, Chris. [CNN, New Day, 12/8/15]
Trump On Morning Joe: Proposal Is “Temporary” And “Not ... Long-Term.” On the December 8 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump called his proposed ban a “temporary move,” and not something “long-term”:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (HOST): Let me ask you this, do you believe that we need members of the Muslim-American community, of the Muslim community around the world, to help fight the war on terror and perhaps that this is incredibly counterproductive?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I think it's something that has to be done. I think it's a temporary move. I'm not looking at this long-term. I'm looking at it temporary -- we have to get our hands around a very serious problem. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 12/8/15]
Right-Wing Media Echo Trump's “Temporary” Caveat To Defend His Plan
Laura Ingraham: Trump Only Wants "A Pause." On the December 9 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham defended Trump's plan, claiming Trump is “not saying to deport all Muslims in the United States,” but rather is saying “just have a pause.” Ingraham also criticized the “overstat[ed]” reaction to Trump's comments and praised him for having “moved the needle of discussion” on the issue:
LAURA INGRAHAM: [I]f it weren't for Cruz and Trump, I don't see how, and maybe -- [Rick] Santorum doesn't have much support, but he's been talking about it. I don't think any of these people would even be talking about immigration. So he's moved the needle of discussion, sometimes a little inartfully and maybe overstepping it, maybe he needs to reframe things. I understand that concern. I really do. I know a lot of great Muslim folks in the United States who do phenomenal work. Great people. One of my doctors happens to be Muslim. Fabulous, fabulous radiologist, amazing person. So I get that. But he's not saying to deport all Muslims in the United States. He's saying just have a pause. And so this -- some of it's been, I think Eric Bolling pointed out yesterday on Fox, there's been a bit of an overstatement of what Trump has said. Why? Why is the overstatement being done? Because it takes the heat off of the establishment failures. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 12/9/15]
Fox's Doocy: “It's Not Like” The Plan “Would Be A Permanent Thing.” On the December 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy deflected criticism of the proposal during an interview with Trump's son, saying, “it's not like it would be a permanent thing”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): So first off, when he made those comments yesterday, what's your reaction to them?
DONALD TRUMP JR.: Well listen, obviously it's a very sensitive topic. But I think it's something that's important. He's more concerned about the safety of Americans than offending people around the world. He is sick of watching everyone else take precedent from our own government, as opposed to American citizens who are here, who are doing a great job, who are working hard to support their families and live. He's concerned about their safety. And that should take precedent over anything.
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): Sure, and he's -- from what he said yesterday, it's not like it would be a permanent thing.
TRUMP JR.: No.
DOOCY: He said 'until they can figure it out.' [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/8/15]
Mark Levin: Trump's “Temporary” Ban Would “Ensure We Have The Processes In Place” To Deal With Muslim Immigration. On the December 8 edition of his radio show, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin described Trump's “temporary” ban as limiting “access to this country ... till we figure out what's going on,” according to BuzzFeed. Levin also defended Trump's plan by asking, “shouldn't we at least have a discussion about Islam?”:
And Mark Levin, in the evening slot, had nothing bad to say about Trump's proposal, which he described as "limiting access to this country, immigration of Muslims into this country for what he has said is a temporary period of time till we figure out what's going on -- in other words, to ensure we have the processes in place.
“Shouldn't we at least have a discussion about Islam?” Levin asked Ted Cruz, who he was interviewing on the air. "'We're not talking about the overwhelming majority of people who are Muslims, we're talking about a discussion of what it is that drives these people. Why can't we even talk about it?" [BuzzFeed, 12/9/15]
Legal Experts Say A Ban On Muslims Entering Into The U.S. Would Be “Blatantly Unconstitutional”
Washington Post: Legal Scholars Say A Muslim Entry Ban Would Be “Ridiculous” And “Blatantly Unconstitutional.” The Washington Post noted multiple legal scholars said Trump's idea to ban Muslim immigration “violates U.S. and international law and would never be allowed by the courts,” quoting one scholar as saying the proposal “would make the United States a virtual pariah among nations”:
Donald Trump's proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the United States violates U.S. and international law and would never be allowed by the courts, legal scholars said late Monday.
“Oh, for the love of God,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University. "This would not only violate international law, but do so by embracing open discrimination against one religion. It would make the United States a virtual pariah among nations.''
The GOP presidential candidate on Monday called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States, including immigrants, tourists and even Muslims who are U.S. citizens and travel abroad. His plan to bar U.S. citizens drew particular ire from legal experts, some of whom fumbled for words as they tried to explain its illegality, since none had considered the matter before.
“That's blatantly unconstitutional if it excludes U.S. citizens because they are Muslims. It's ridiculous,” said Richard Friedman, a law professor at the University of Michigan. He cited the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the First Amendment's doctrine of freedom of religion.
Barring Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country may not violate U.S. law in the same way, the experts said, because the Constitution's protections generally do not apply to people outside the nation's borders. But that's irrelevant, they said, because Trump's plan would break many principles of international law and agreements the U.S. has signed with other nations.
“We have treaties, all sorts of relationships with other countries,'' said Palma Yanni, a D.C. immigration lawyer and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. ”I'm sure it would violate innumerable treaties if we suddenly started banning citizens of NATO countries, of Southeast Asian countries.'' [The Washington Post, 12/7/15]
Associated Press: “Legal Experts Agree” A Ban Would Be “Unconstitutional” And “Impossible To Carry Out.” The Associated Press reported that “legal experts agree” the proposed ban is “not only unconstitutional, but also impossible to carry out” and constitutes “an attack on the very foundation of the United States.” The AP also quoted a law professor saying the ban would “amount to a religious test for anyone wanting to enter the country,” which would be “unprecedented in U.S. history”:
Donald Trump's call to block all Muslims from entering the United States is not only unconstitutional, but also impossible to carry out, legal experts said Tuesday.
“It is blatantly unconstitutional and it's an attack on the very foundation of the United States,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor specializing in the First Amendment at Yeshiva University in New York City. She called his idea “laughable.”
“It's never possible to fully ascertain what someone believes internally,” Hamilton added. “How does one recognize a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew? Do you look at where they were born, do you look at where they were raised? Do you look at the last religious service they attended?”
Trump's proposal amounts to a religious test for anyone wanting to enter the country, something that is unprecedented in U.S. history, said Nancy Morawetz, a professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law.
“If one has this kind of a rule, you have to figure out how you're going to test it and verify it,” Morawetz said. “What this really means is there would be a religious identity card.” [Associated Press, 12/8/15]
New York Times: Immigration Lawyers “Predict The Supreme Court Would Strike Down” Any Congressional Act Enacting Trump's Proposal. The New York Times quoted immigration and legal experts calling Trump's proposal “antithetical to the history of the United States” and predicting it would be struck down by the Supreme Court “as an overly restrictive immigration policy under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment”:
Experts on immigration law and policy expressed shock at the proposal Monday afternoon.
“This is just so antithetical to the history of the United States,” said Nancy Morawetz, a professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law, who specializes in immigration. “It's unbelievable to have a religious test for admission into the country.”
She added: “I cannot recall any historical precedent for denying immigration based on religion.”
Putting the policy into practice would require an unlikely act of Congress, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of law at Cornell and a prominent authority on immigration.
Should Congress enact such a law, he predicted, the Supreme Court would invalidate it as an overly restrictive immigration policy under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
“It would certainly be challenged as unconstitutional,” he said. “And I predict the Supreme Court would strike it down.” [The New York Times, 12/7/15]
Experts Say Trump's Rhetoric Helps Terrorists By Alienating Muslims
ThinkProgress: Experts Say Trump's “Rhetoric Bolsters The Message Of Extremist Groups Like ISIS.” ThinkProgress' Justin Salhani explained that “experts say [Trump's] rhetoric bolsters the message of extremist groups like ISIS” by helping ISIS “gain support by convincing vulnerable youths prone to ideological radicalization that the west has an aversion to Islam”:
Trump's latest proposal is driven with national security in mind. A couple in San Bernardino, California went on a killing spree last week, killing 14 people. ISIS later claimed the couple as followers, while authorities say the wife pledged allegiance to the group on her Facebook page prior to the attacks. In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting and with the Paris attacks still fresh in mind, Trump claims that Muslims pose a “dangerous threat.”
While Trump assumes that stopping Muslims from entering the U.S. would boost domestic security, experts say such rhetoric bolsters the message of extremist groups like ISIS and, in correlation, increases animosity and potential retribution attacks against the U.S.
“This is precisely what ISIS was aiming for -- to provoke communities to commit actions against Muslims,” Arie Kruglanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland who researches what motivates people to become terrorists, told the Washington Post. “Then ISIS will be able to say, 'I told you so. These are your enemies, and the enemies of Islam.'”
One of ISIS' primary talking points is about eliminating the “grayzone” of coexistence between Muslims and western society. ISIS gains support by convincing vulnerable youths prone to ideological radicalization that the west has an aversion to Islam and, by extension, their families, their various cultures and societies, and them as individuals.
“Muslims in the West will soon find themselves between one of two choices,” the group published in their online magazine, Dabiq. [ThinkProgress, 12/8/15]
MSNBC Analyst And Counterterrorism Expert: “We Are Standing By Right Now To See An ISIS Video Come Up With Donald Trump.” On the December 8 edition of MSNBC's MTP Daily, MSNBC analyst and counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance explained to host Chuck Todd how Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric is helping ISIS jeopardizing U.S. intelligence missions:
CHUCK TODD (HOST): And before I let you go, how serious is -- I always hear that, you know, be careful what these politicians say of Donald Trump, it could be used for -- as ISIS propaganda. And some of the criticism of Trump has noted that. Some of the -- how much does ISIS use our political debate, maybe about rhetoric on Muslims, in their own propaganda?
MALCOLM NANCE: They use it extensively. As a matter of fact, I think we are standing by right now, to see an ISIS video come up with Donald Trump, you know, saying his rhetoric about blocking Muslims or banning Muslims from coming to the United States. And saying, we told you this, the khalifa, you know, the caliphate is here for you, this is not your world. That is the land of the kufr. We are the land of the loyalists. And by doing that -- they not only compromise the, you know, people who may want to radicalize the United States and push them off the fence -- there are intelligence missions which are being carried out by officers in a covert role that are being compromised right now. We have allies who may look at us and say, do you really believe this? You know, you're Central Intelligence Agency officer --
TODD: You feel like there is a little bit of sideways looking going on now for everybody?
NANCE: Absolutely. They're looking sideways at them. And we on the ground, our soldiers are endangered by this kind of rhetoric. They need to stop it. And they need to understand that the defense of this nation stops, you know, at the water's edge. [MSNBC, MTP Daily, 12/8/15]
Terrorism Expert: Terrorist Groups “Love [Trump] From The Sense That He Is Supporting Their Rhetoric.” In a December 8 article, NBC News' F. Brinley Bruton and Corky Siemaszko pointed out that experts have observed how Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States “is being used by the head-chopping fanatics and other terrorists groups like al Qaeda to attract recruits by painting the land of the free as opposed to Islam”:
Donald Trump's call for closing America's door to Muslims is opening a window of opportunity for groups like ISIS, counter-terrorism experts and human rights advocates say.
The Republican presidential candidate's controversial proposal for barring all Muslims from entering the United States is being used by the head-chopping fanatics and other terrorist groups like al Qaeda to attract recruits by painting the land of the free as opposed to Islam, experts told NBC News on Tuesday.
“They love him from the sense that he is supporting their rhetoric,” said Rita Katz with the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the social media activities of Islamic terrorist groups.
“They follow everything Donald Trump says,” she noted. “When he says, 'No Muslims should be allowed in America,' they tell people, 'We told you America hates Muslims and here is proof.'” [NBCNews.com, 12/8/15]