Priebus Plays Down "Muslim Registry" Rhetoric of Trump and Flynn
BY: Meshal Abusalem/Contributing Writer
CNN, ABC and NBC interviewed Reince Priebus, President-elect Trump’s Chief of Staff, earlier this week. Frequent questions asked were whether or not Donald Trump still planned to implement a registry based on religious affiliation, and if Trump agreed with comments on Islam made by Mike Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor.
Priebus said that the Trump Administration does not plan on having a registry based on religion, but will focus on regions that harbor and train terrorists.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” host, Chuck Todd, asked Priebus if he can “rule out a registry for Muslims?” Priebus’ response was that he is not “going to rule out anything” when it comes to future policies, but also said, “we’re not going to have a registry based on a religion.” Although other members of the Trump team, namely Kris Kobach and Carl Higbie, are certain that an entire religious group can be vetted differently than others, Priebus says there will not be a registry.
Priebus continued, “there are some people that are radicalized and there are some people that have to be prevented from coming into this country, and Donald Trump’s position… is consistent with bills in the House and the Senate that say the following: If you come, if you want to come from a place or an area around the world that harbors and trains terrorists, we have to temporarily suspend that operation until a better, better vetting system is put in place”
Trump’s Chief of Staff made it clear that immigration will be suspended until there is a better vetting system. Only then, will immigrants be allowed to enter.
Another question Priebus had to answer was regarding comments made by Mike Flynn on Islam. Flynn has tweeted that “fear of Muslims is rational” and in his book, “Field of Fight”, called the religion a “cancer” and a “political ideology”.
On ABC’s “This Week”, Priebus said: “clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic and we know them, we’ve seen it.” Priebus then went on to say that Flynn is “one of the most highly respected intelligence officers in America”, that he has been at Trump’s side for a very long time, and the president elect trusts and respects him.
On CNN’s “State of the Union”, Priebus was asked if Trump’s administration worried about the generalization within Flynn’s comments would lead to the comments being used by terrorist organizations for recruitment, Priebus replied: “President-elect Trump’s opinion is that there are some people within that particular religion that we do fear, but also made it clear that we don’t believe in religious tests and we are not blankly judging an entire religion, but in fact we will try to pinpoint the problems and temporarily suspend those areas from coming into the United States until a better vetting system is in place.”
Priebus’ answers suggest that Trump’s is more concerned with the region of which refugees come from, not their religion. So far, Priebus is the only appointed person on Trump’s team to not disparage all Muslims or Islam generally. However, if Priebus is stuck defending the statements made by other appointees in the Trump Administration, it will be a very long four years for the Republican leader.