Donald Trump Says His Muslim Travel Ban Is ‘Just A Suggestion’

The walk backs begin.

Donald Trump Shrug

Donald Trump is now saying that his proposal to ban Muslim immigration into the United States is ‘just a suggestion’:

Donald Trump has demoted his proposed Muslim immigration ban to a mere “suggestion.”

In a radio interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee softened his call to temporarily prohibit Muslims from entering the United States.

“We have a serious problem. 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 said.

But Trump didn’t mince words in linking Muslims to the proliferation of terrorism around the world.

“We have radical Islamic terrorism all over the world. You can go to Paris, you can go to San Bernardino, all over the world: If they want to deny it, they can deny it. I don’t choose to deny it,” he said.

Trump’s comments came one day after he claimed he would make an “exception” for London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, to enter the U.S.

“There will always be exceptions,” he told The New York Times on Tuesday, while adding he was happy Khan was elected in the city.

Khan was not impressed with Trump’s gesture, telling CNN that the Manhattan billionaire was “ignorant” about Islam and that he hoped he would lose the U.S. election.

Later in the day, Trump said that he was considering the idea of a commission to study ‘radical Islam’ that would be headed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an idea that Giuliani appeared to be receptive to when asked about it later in the day. This last idea is somewhat ironic considering that Giuliani was among those Republican politicians who denounced Trump’s original call for a Muslim travel ban, pointing out that it constituted a clear violation of the First Amendment as well as the fact that it would be counter-productive and more likely to increase resentment of the United States among Muslims worldwide than to make America a safer place. Whether this indicates that Trump is walking back his ridiculous travel ban idea or not is unclear, but his opponents are certainly interpreting it that way, with some suggesting that it’s evidence that Trump was never really serious about the idea, but I would suggest its more complicated than that.

When Trump made the suggestion to ban Muslim immigration into the United States in early December, he had just succeeded in pushing back against Ben Carson’s rise in the polls and was being challenged for his spot as leader in the race for the GOP nomination by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose fortunes were rising in Iowa. The nation had just come off the twin shocks of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and was still debating the question of what to do about refugees from Syria’s civil war. Trump was clearly looking for something that would grab the media spotlight away from his opponents and he found it in a proposal that was both bigoted and unconstitutional. The fact that he may not have been The fact that Trump never really mentioned the travel ban idea much after Christmas should have been a clue to his supporters that he was just playing with them. Of course, if there’s another terrorist attack, or if Trump feels like he’s falling behind in the polls, we’ll probably see him renew this idea. For now, though, it’s not entirely surprising to see a guy who clearly has no core principles at all walk back one of the central ideas of his campaign. The question Republicans ought to be asking themselves, though, is what does this man actually believe, and what would he do if he somehow actually became President?

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Religion, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. CSK says:

    Isn’t it a bit early for him to start reneging on his promises? The ban on Muslims was one of the biggies, along with the wall.

    A true hard-core Trumpkin can rationalize anything Trump says, but a comment like this one would seem to undermine the very foundation of his appeal.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    “The Don” will flip and say his great Wall just got 10 feet taller over liberals misquoting him on this in 12-18 hours..

  3. Andre Kenji says:

    Since I´m a Brazilian I like Donald Trump. He makes me feel less bad about politics in my own country.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    But of course, Hillary is the candidate whom you cannot trust anything she says, right?

  5. C. Clavin says:

    The man stands for nothing. Absolutely nothing.
    The only thing he says that you can actually believe is that his own daughter gives him a chubby.
    I don’t believe anyone can point to a single issue that Trump has not contradicted himself on.
    This includes sucking up to billionaire donors and the Republican establishment.
    So again…what do Trump supporters think that they are supporting?
    All he is, is an orange-faced comb-over with no core beliefs beyond what is in his head at any giben moment, and what he thinks any particular audience wants to hear.
    Maybe sometime soon the 4th Estate will call him on it. But I seriously doubt it.
    Anyone who thinks this buffoon, prone to infantile twitter-tantrums, should have access to nuclear codes or be allowed to appoint SCOTUS Justices has serious mental health issues. Serious mental health issues.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Again, this is a guy who is a Real Estate Developer/Sales Man/Con Man – this is who he is. He believes in his ‘brand’ and in closing the deal.

    Americans are suckers for a good sales pitch. I personally can’t see Trump winning, but the chance is definitely there. These days, when it comes to the American people I keep my expectations low.

  7. Scott says:

    At what point are we going to start ignoring his daily pronouncements? I think it may happen and then he’ll have to go back to outrageousness just to get attention. Personally, I getting bored with Trump but I’m probably the exception. The con will continue, the flim-flam will never die.

  8. Pch101 says:

    Trump understands that consistency and logic are overrated when it comes to courting voters.

    Those who vote for him wlll do so either because (a) they like him for visceral reasons or (b) they regard him as the lesser of two evils. He says enough stuff that the first group wants to hear in order to keep them on board, while the second group will more motivated by his opponent than by anything that he does or doesn’t do.

  9. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Reminds me of the old saying, ‘I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right and keep me on the front page’.

    This is Trumps campaign. When there is a pause in news coverage, say something outrageous to become the highlight of the day. Then walk it back later. Never, never speak in complete and coherent sentences, so you can claim that you were misunderstood.

    For month’s the American public has understood that Donald would ban all Muslims (with certain friendly exceptions) until he figures out why “they” hate us. Practically everyone knows he’ll never “figure” that out, consequently his temporary ban is more likely a permanent ban, which his xenophobic crowd just loves.

    Trump is just playing the American public.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    I suspect there is a large group of his supporters that could not care less about anything he says. To them Trump isn’t a new version of Patrick Buchanan – he’s a new version of Marion Barry. This group of supporters support him because he drives people like us crazy. That’s their metric. The more we talk about what a catastrophe he is, the more delighted they are to stick it to the “know it alls” by voting for him.

    I’m not saying we should stop pointing out the folly of supporting this guy. I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t expect it to move this group of voters one centimeter.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    Paris Mayor Anne Hildago:
    “Mr. Trump is stupid…He’s very stupid. My God.”

  12. C. Clavin says:


    we shouldn’t expect it to move this group of voters one centimeter.

    No…you’re correct…you cannot reason with people who come to their opinions thru emotion only.

  13. Andre Kenji says:

    Trump is part Blog comment poster, part used car salesman.

  14. Hal_10000 says:

    What Trump understands is that he can do a complete 180 on his views and his supporters simply will not care.

    This gets less funny by the day. Was talking to my mom the other night, who has been a reliable GOP voter since 1960. She’s despairing over this election, claiming she simply won’t vote because Trump is so repugnant. She’s known to be pessimistic but this is something else.

  15. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I don’t think you’re being fair, Doug. Trump has a core principle–sell the product, however you can.

  16. CSK says:


    The thing is, Trump supporters see him as their vehicle for revenge against Republicans as well as Democrats. This isn’t about ideology or policy (Trump has neither); this is about insensate rage and venting it. As one Trumpkin said, “We want to see blood in the streets.”

  17. gVOR08 says:

    Trump says we should ban Muslims until we study and understand what’s happening. Maybe we should vote for someone who does understand. Say the ex Secretary of State.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So again…what do Trump supporters think that they are supporting?

    Random lashing out.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    Nothing about Trump’s style or approach surprises me. Trump is a psychopath.

    The quick Google definition:

    Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/), also known as—though sometimes distinguished from—sociopathy (/ˈsoʊsiəˌpæθi/), is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior.

    I am a reformed or ‘evolved’ psychopath myself. Psychopaths are not necessarily people who torture kittens – I’ve never been a violent or predatory person. But the psychopath sees a very different reality from most people. Most people see a world defined by agreed-upon norms – rules, regulations, customs, precedents, commonly-held assumptions. They’re rats in a maze, trying to reach the cheese by moving through the maze. The psychopath doesn’t see the maze, doesn’t see the rules, the assumptions, etc…, he sees the cheese and just the cheese. A psychopath’s perception of human weakness is like a shark’s perception of blood. It’s instinctive, not calculated. A psychopath’s world is all straight lines.

    It’s actually a useful evolutionary adaptation. Most of the time the tribe needs to stick to the rules, needs to obey the taboos, needs to defer to authority. Civilization is impossible without the bulk of humanity behaving in accordance with generally agree-upon norms. However, every now and then, you need that guy who only sees straight lines, because sometimes the rules and norms reach a dead end.

    So at each stage, as Trump attacked this way or that, used name-calling, ridicule, or lied outright, as every pundit moaned and wondered and tried to guess what was going on, I’ve been thinking, “Yep, he’s found the pulsing artery.” Little Marco? Low energy Jeb? Lyin’ Ted? He found the angle, he found their weakness and exploited it, rules-be-damned.

    The good and bad thing is that Trump is lazy and rather stupid. If he were harder-working or self-aware or brilliant we’d be in real trouble. But he’s all instinct, overly-cocky and lazy (and, as an aside, I suspect dyslexic,) so while he moves relentlessly toward the smell of blood he doesn’t sense the fisherman’s net slowly falling around him.

    Trump isn’t the real problem. His voters are. They’re in the middle of a white male panic, and have convinced themselves it’s Psychopath Time. It’s not. Things are nowhere near the point where you call in the psychopath. The voters have some genuine pain, but they’re insisting on open-heart surgery when all they need is a nice course of antibiotics. His voters are weak-minded and have been thoroughly brainwashed by the very same Republican Party that has now discovered (shock! amaze!) that their lies have created the circumstances for the rise of a man like Trump.

    Society as a whole does not need surgery, it needs to chill out, take a beat, relax, enjoy a lovely cocktail, and hire some boringly competent grown-up to tweak the maze a bit but not tear it down. Psychopaths (of the un-evolved sort) are inherently very dangerous medicine. When all else has failed, you call the psychopath; all else has not failed.

    No one to my left or my right is going to like it, but what this country needs right now, is Hillary. We need Mom, not wacky grandpa Bernie and definitely not bad uncle Donald.

  20. george says:


    But of course, Hillary is the candidate whom you cannot trust anything she says, right?

    Its not mutually exclusive – I wouldn’t trust anything she says either. Or Sanders. Or Cruz. Or any of them running.

    Hillary is a less bad choice than Trump, that’s clear. Possibly less bad than Sanders too. But none of them are good choices.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The good and bad thing is that Trump is lazy and rather stupid. If he were harder-working or self-aware or brilliant we’d be in real trouble.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    To parrot the crowd, welcome back Michael.

  22. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nice to see you back again, Michael.

    As for Trump’s laziness, stupidity, ignorance, and propensity for gibberish…You’ve defined the male Sarah Palin. It is no surprise to me that so many of her acolytes have become his acolytes.

  23. Monala says:

    @Moosebreath: Yeah. Great political cartoon I saw recently: A man says that he can’t trust anything Clinton says, so he’s voting for Trump. A Clinton supporter responds, “But he’s a bigoted, sexist, xenophobic blowhard.” The Trump supporter replies, “He doesn’t mean anything he says.”

  24. michael reynolds says:

    testing the filter