Along with The Wall, the ban is one of Trump’s signature policies. Announced in the wake of November’s San Bernardino shooting, the ban helped reinvigorate Trump’s campaign—he had previously fallen into second place for the first time in the primary cycle. But the Muslim ban was also never really thought out. How exactly does one ban all Muslims from entering the country without draconian or unconstitutional measures?
The ban was tailor-made for Republican primary voters, but not for the general electorate. Trump has therefore spent the past two months trying to alter the ban without seeming like he’s flip-flopping, but has only succeeded in making the ban completely incoherent. As the AP reports, Trump began by stressing the “temporary” nature of the ban in May, only to double down on it in the wake of the Orlando massacre. In Scotland last weekend, Trump told reporters that he’d be “open” to Muslim immigrants from the U.K., before tweeting, “We must suspend immigration from regions linked with terrorism until a proven vetting method is in place.”
Banning people from regions connected to terrorism would seem less egregious than banning 1.7 billion people outright, but it also comes with a host of problems. Admitting Syrian refugees (whom Trump calls terrorists, even though they are fleeing terrorists) would be out of the question. So, too, would admitting many Middle Eastern Christians, whose plight has animated many conservatives. Trump’s new take on the Muslim ban has been reported as him pivoting to the general election by “softening” his tone, but the policy is as incoherent and egregious as ever.