Priebus and Conway Echo Trump: ‘This Is Not a Muslim Ban’

By Susan Jones | January 30, 2017 | 7:21am EST
Protesters rally against President Donald Trump's order that restricts travel to the U.S., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Boston. Trump signed an executive order Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 that bans legal U.S. residents and visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days and puts an indefinite hold on a program resettling Syrian refugees. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Update: President Trump issued three tweets Monday morning regarding his temporary ban on would-be immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. The policy prompted protests at airports across the nation this weekend, but as Trump noted on Monday:

"Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,..... protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN! There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!")

( – "To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting," President Donald Trump said in a message posted Sunday on Facebook.

His top advisers appeared on various Sunday news shows to emphasise that point.

The executive order signed by Trump on Friday suspends immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days, to give the Trump administration time to review and strengthen the vetting of people admitted to this country from places where terrorism thrives.

When immigration resumes, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is directed to prioritize claims made by individuals claiming religious persecution -- "provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality.”

“It doesn't just say Christians,” Priebus noted on Sunday. “It also says persecuted Muslims get priority as well. So, this is not a Muslim ban.”

Priebus said the immigration suspension applies to only seven of the many Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“And the reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country.

“Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries.”

Kellyanne Conway echoed that point on "Fox News Sunday."

"What about the 46 majority Muslim countries that are not included?" Conway asked. "Right there, it totally undercuts this nonsense that this is a Muslim ban. This is a ban on travel, prospective travel from countries, trying to prevent terrorists in this country from countries that have a recent history of training and exporting and harboring terrorists," she added.

Trump's executive order states that to protect Americans, “the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

 “President Trump is not willing to take chances on this subject,” Priebus told “Face the Nation.”

“He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbor terrorists.

“And I can't imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it's unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States. And that's all this is.”

Priebus noted that 325,000 foreigners came into the United States on Saturday, and only “about 109” of them were detained for further questioning because they came from one of the seven restricted countries.

“They were asked questions,” he said. “The vast majority of all those people were released. About a couple dozen people remain for further questioning. And my suspicion is those people will move on, as long as they're not dangerous and as perhaps a couple of them will be further detained because it's determined that they're dangerous for this country.”

Priebus said the reason the Trump administration purposely implemented the temporary immigration ban without advance warning, even though it caught many travelers by surprise:

“We're not going to advertise to the world that we're going to put a stop or at least a further vetting on travel in and out of our country from these seven places.

“Some people have suggested, John, that, well, maybe we should have given everyone a three-day warning. But that would just mean that a terrorist would just move up their travel plans by three days.”

MRC Store