Former Republican presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie expresses his support for current candidate Donald Trump at an airport rally in Millington, Tenn., Feb. 27, 2016.
Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters

Christie tries to put a nice spin on Trump’s Muslim ban

Some proposals are so outrageously ridiculous, there’s simply no credible way to put a positive spin on them. As TPM noted yesterday, it’s a lesson New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) hasn’t quite learned.
Despite condemning Donald Trump’s Muslim ban on the campaign trail, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has changed course and said last week that Trump’s proposal isn’t really a ban on Muslims.
“You all continue to call it a Muslim ban. That’s not what it is and never has been,” Christie told reporters, according to the Bergen Record. “So I’ve urged him to continue to speak in detail about this, so that it prevents the media from short-handing something and making him look like something that he’s not.”
Look, this isn’t complicated. It’s not “the media” that refers to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban as “a Muslim ban.” Trump himself has done it.
In December, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee announced that he wants a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” He put it in writing, and then he read his statement, out loud and in public.
Trump has reiterated his support for this absurd idea several times since, including just two weeks ago after the mass-shooting in Orlando, when he explicitly talked up the benefits of a “ban.” Perhaps Christie missed it?
There have been some recent attempts to “clarify” Trump’s proposal, but they haven’t gone well, either.
Over the weekend, the GOP candidate said he doesn’t want “people coming in from certain countries,” suggesting his Muslim ban may not apply equally to every country. “I don’t want people coming in from the terror countries. You have terror countries!”
Putting aside the fact that “terror countries” is laughably vague, his campaign spokesperson added soon after that Trump’s position is unchanged, and entirely “consistent” with everything he’s said before.
Yesterday, as the Huffington Post reported, Team Trump tried again.
Donald Trump’s campaign spokeswoman on Monday revised the presumptive Republican nominee’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. for the second time in three days, saying Trump is dropping the word “Muslim” from the policy and focusing on immigrants from “terrorist nations.”
“It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, except for fact that the terrorist nations, which is something he is adding to this policy to make it more clear, that if you are coming from a hostile nation and you cannot be vetted, absolutely you should not come into this country,” Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said on CNN.
This still doesn’t make sense. Some of the 9/11 terrorists, for example, plotted in Germany, which is a U.S. ally. By Trump’s reasoning, is Germany a “hostile nation” and/or a “terrorist nation” with Muslims who would be denied entry to American soil? What, exactly, does it take to trigger “terror country” status in the mind of the presumptive Republican nominee?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) added over the weekend that Trump’s Muslim ban is “not a real proposal” – the candidate he’s endorsed appears to disagree – adding that, if he’s re-elected, the far-right senator would “encourage” Trump to go in a different direction.
Of course, “encouragement” is all that Rubio could offer – since Trump intends to implement his radical plan without congressional approval.