Theres No Reason to Apologize for Muslim Ban Remarks, Trump Says


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 Theres No Reason to Apologize for Muslim Ban Remarks, Trump Says

“Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster,” President Trump said on Monday. “Theyre laughed at all over the world.”

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Monday that he would not apologize for campaign statements calling for a “Muslim ban,” appearing to undercut an assertion at a Supreme Court argument last week from Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco. In defending Mr. Trumps efforts to restrict travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, Mr. Francisco said that the president had already disavowed the statements.

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Mr. Franciscos own assertion contained a mistake, a Justice Department spokeswoman said on Monday. “The president has made crystal clear on Sept. 25 that he had no intention of imposing the Muslim ban,” Mr. Francisco said during the argument. But he got the date wrong by eight months, and critics said the statement he referred to was less than crystal clear.

Mr. Trumps comment and the Justice Departments clarification arose from an exchange at Wednesdays argument.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked whether Mr. Trump could immunize his order from constitutional challenge by disavowing his campaign statements.

A lawyer for the challengers, Neal K. Katyal, said yes, but he added that Mr. Trump and his advisers had never repudiated the campaign statements. “Instead they embraced them,” he said.

Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco said last week that Mr. Trump had disavowed his campaign statements calling for a Muslim ban.On Monday, Mr. Trump appeared to do so again. Told by a reporter that “the lawyers for the opponents said that if you would simply apologize for some of your rhetoric during the campaign, the whole case would go away,” Mr. Trump was skeptical and unrepentant.

“I dont think it would, No. 1,” he said. “And theres no reason to apologize. Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. Theyre laughed at all over the world — theyre laughed at for their stupidity, and we have to have strong immigration laws. So I think if I apologize, it wouldnt make 10 cents worth of difference to them. Theres nothing to apologize for.”

At the argument, Mr. Franciscos reference to a Sept. 25 statement from Mr. Trump confused many observers. That was the day after Mr. Trump issued his latest travel ban, and such a statement would have shed timely light on what he had intended it to accomplish. But Mr. Francisco misspoke. He had meant to refer to an interview Mr. Trump gave on Jan. 25, 2017, not long before he issued his original travel ban, the first of three.

“Its not the Muslim ban,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “But its countries that have tremendous terror.”

Critics of the administration said the interview was not the “crystal clear” statement Mr. Francisco had described.

Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote on Take Care, a legal blog, that the interview included no disavowal of or apology for Mr. Trumps campaign pledge to impose a “Muslim ban.”

Follow Adam Liptak on Twitter: @adamliptak.

By: The New York Times

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