Donald Trump has said so many outlandish things over the course of his presidential campaign -- conspiracy theories, rhetoric that encouraged violence, ugly remarks about women and minority groups -- that it's daunting to identify the worst of the worst.
But by any measure, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States has to be near the top of the list.
To briefly recap, Trump announced in December that he wants a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." A day later, Trump's national spokesperson was reminded that such a policy would block lots of peaceful people who have nothing to do with violence. "So what?" the spokesperson replied. "They're Muslim."
At the time, Trump's proposal was condemned by the left and right, in addition to criticisms and fears raised by many abroad. That was, however, nearly six months ago. Does Trump still stand by such bigotry? Consider this exchange between the Republican candidate and NBC News' Lester Holt:
HOLT: Do you stand by them? Do you stand, for example, by the idea of a ban against foreign Muslims coming here?
TRUMP: I do. We have to be vigilant. We have to be strong. We have to see what's going on.
In case this isn't obvious, there's nothing "strong" about ignorance and discrimination.
Regardless, Trump remains fully committed to his ridiculous proposal. In addition to the Lester Holt interview, the GOP candidate was asked on MSNBC yesterday about his idea of a Muslim ban. Trump once again replied, "We have to be very vigilant, find out what's going on."
In other words, Trump's position hasn't changed. The same radical nonsense he touted in December remains a key element of his platform. There appears to be some sense among campaign observers that Trump may try to moderate his image and broaden his appeal as he transitions to the general election, but there's little evidence to support the thesis.