To ban, or not to ban? That was the question at the White House daily briefing Tuesday when Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted President Donald Trump "has made very clear" that the executive action on immigration "is not a Muslim ban. It's not a travel ban. It's a vetting system to keep America safe. That's it." After pushback, Spicer reiterated: "It can't be a ban if you're letting a million people in."
By Wednesday morning, Trump had jumped into the fray:
Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2017
Trump did not call his proposal a ban when he first introduced it as "preventing Muslim immigration" in late 2015. "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," the statement read.
But Trump has used the word "ban" to talk about his plan since early 2016:
Hillary Clinton said that it is O.K. to ban Muslims from Israel by building a WALL, but not O.K. to do so in the U.S. We must be vigilant!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2016
What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
In my speech on protecting America I spoke about a temporary ban, which includes suspending immigration from nations tied to Islamic terror.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2016
And as recently as Monday:
If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the "bad" would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad "dudes" out there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
When a reporter asked Tuesday if the White House was confused about the word "ban," Spicer said: "I'm not confused. The words that are being used to describe it are derived from what the media is calling it." Jeva Lange