Trump spokeswoman: Muslim ban was directed only at immigrants

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Screenshot/CNN

Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson says Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the US applies only to Muslim immigrants, not all Muslims.

In a contentious interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday, Pierson said that Trump’s policy hadn’t changed and that she was only clarifying his position.

“It’s only really a change if you never knew what the ban was to begin with,” she said. “The policy in and of itself was an immigration policy, so the context there is extremely important.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, proposed the controversial ban five days after the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting that killed 14 people in December. The proposal immediately received criticism from all sides of the political spectrum and was fiercely attacked by several of Trump’s rivals during the Republican primaries.

His original statement, which is still on his campaign website, reads:

“Donald J. Trump is calling fora total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Pierson on Monday said the proposal was meant to keep out “individuals who cannot be vetted,” adding that the US does not have a vetting process in place for refugees entering the country, a claim Trump has made before.

Keilar then read a PolitiFact analysis contradicting that claim. It said the US’s vetting process had been in place for three decades and for some refugees lasted longer than two years.

“You’re saying there’s no vetting process,” Keilar said. “I just read the vetting process. How does he want to change it?”

“Here’s the thing,” Pierson responded. “We’re not going to base national security off PolitiFact.”

Pierson’s comments come as Trump appears to be slowly walking back his proposal in favor of one that targets countries with a history of terrorism.

But when pressed to reveal the countries that Trump is targeting, Pierson declined to provide details.

“Mr. Trump is going to release more specifics to answer all of your questions,” she said.

Pierson hit back against Keilar’s criticism on Twitter after the interview aired:

Watch clips from the interview below:

Trump spokeswoman KatrinaPierson: The ban was never against ALL Muslims https://t.co/wJSgobFywz https://t.co/yTA3f6fmot

https://t.co/wJSgobFywzhttps://t.co/yTA3f6fmotJune 27,2016

.@brikeillarcnn pressesKatrina Pierson for answers about potential changes to Trump’sMuslim immigration ban https://t.co/LoD8bJJBU8

https://t.co/LoD8bJJBU8June 27,2016

Trump national spokeswoman:Were not going to base national security off Politifact https://t.co/wJSgobFywz https://t.co/Ln8gQs6OYw

https://t.co/wJSgobFywzhttps://t.co/Ln8gQs6OYwJune 27,2016

Trump spokeswoman on @CNNSitRoom: “Mr. Trumpis going to be refining his policy” https://t.co/iRlpDVec76 https://t.co/MBmhcAGzkL

@CNNSitRoomhttps://t.co/iRlpDVec76https://t.co/MBmhcAGzkLJune27, 2016

.@brikeilarcnn pressesKatrina Pierson for answers about potential changes to DonaldTrump’s Muslim immigration ban https://t.co/o7YFlwT6ch

@brikeilarcnnhttps://t.co/o7YFlwT6chJune 27,2016