Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and newly named White House aide, said Thursday the new administration would not pursue a ban on Muslims solely based on their religion.
Asked repeatedly if an individual’s religious affiliation would trigger heightened scrutiny, Conway said, “No.”
Instead, Trump will focus more on the country of origin, Conway said.
“You’re going back to over a year ago in what he said about the (Muslim) ban versus what he said later about it, when he made it much more specific and talked about countries where we know that they’ve got a higher propensity of training and exporting terrorists,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo during an interview on “New Day,” after he prodded her to share more details.
Conway also denied that Trump has changed his position.
“He doesn’t go back and forth on anything based on criticism. I mean, if you’re us, and certainly if you’re him, you are impervious to naysayers and critics in terms of them changing policy,” she said.
Trump has been somewhat vague in explaining what countries – or people – would be targeted for tighter screening, if not banned altogether.
During the presidential campaign, he repeatedly highlighted ISIS’s attacks on Christians in the Middle East and, last December, called for a halt on Muslim immigration into the US as a response to terrorism. He has since called for a ban on individuals from terrorist-prone countries and for “extreme vetting,” though he has not yet outlined the terms of such a ban.
Questions over the proposal have resurfaced in the wake of a deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin this week. The only publicly named suspect in the case, who is now the subject of global manhunt, is a 24-year-old Tunisian named Anis Amri. Twelve people were killed and 48 injured when a truck was driven into a crowd of holiday shoppers.
Asked Wednesday if the Berlin attack caused him to re-evaluate his ban, Trump would only tell reporters, “You’ve known my plans all along … they’ve proven to be right, 100% correct. What’s happening is disgraceful.”