As recently as December, Donald Trump announced support for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Asked last week whether he stands by one of his most outrageous proposals, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee reiterated his support for the idea – twice.
Yesterday, however, as Rachel noted on last night’s show, Trump told Fox News the proposed ban was “only a suggestion,” adding, “It hasn’t been called for yet.” I’m not altogether sure what that means – it has been “called for,” by Trump himself – but this is apparently Trump’s way of making his more outlandish ideas sound more palatable.
Nevertheless, Trump is moving forward with ideas as to how best to implement his “suggestion.” The AP reported yesterday:
Donald Trump says he may set up a commission to study his immigration policies and his proposed ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S. The man he may ask to lead the commission is the former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who’s called Trump’s idea of a Muslim ban unconstitutional. […]He says a commission would examine all those issues, as well as the question of letting in Syrian refugees, and it would be “possibly headed” by Giuliani, the mayor when New York was attacked on 9/11.
Soon after, the New York Times reported that the former mayor seems to be on board with the plan. “I think the idea of studying how we can best deal with radical Islam, and try to figure how to distinguish between all the good people who are Muslims and the bad ones, is a good idea,” Giuliani told reporters yesterday.
Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it.
The other way is that this endeavor is absurd and offensive. The idea that a government commission, led by a former mayor who has no background in matters of religion or national security, would tackle “distinguishing” between “good” members of faith tradition and “bad” is so plainly ridiculous and unworkable that the proposal itself is something of a national embarrassment.
The only thing worse than the idea of some kind of McCarthy-like anti-Muslim commission is putting Rudy Giuliani in charge of it. Media Matters pulled together a list of some of the former mayor’s recent comments on race and diversity, and the list is as ugly as it is long.
We are, however, starting to get a better sense of what a Trump administration might actually look like, and how it might go about achieving some of its goals. So far, the evidence is more than a little alarming.