- Thomson Reuters
“Today” show host Matt Lauer questioned Donald Trump on his controversial proposal to bar Muslim immigrants and tourists from entering hte US.
Lauer asked Trump on the “Today” show Friday morning whether he had softened his stance on the suggested ban now that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
He noted Trump’s recent meeting with Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who has yet to endorse him.
Speaker Ryan said at the meeting that there are clearly issues on which you two disagree. We know that one of those is on that ban on Muslims. He is not for it, you have said you are. But in recent days, you’ve called it more of a suggestion than a proposal. I’d like you to clarify that for me because I think millions of people who voted for you across the country during the primary process felt as if you were actually proposing that. Are you softening your stance?
Trump denied softening his stance.
“Well, I’m not the president right now, so anything I suggest is really a suggestion,” Trump told Lauer. “And if I were president, I’d put in legislation into what I’d have to do.”
Lauer tried to clarify, asking if Trump would push legislation to bar Muslims from coming into the country.
“I can tell you – no, I’m looking at it very strongly. We have an Islamic – we have really a problem with radical Islamic terrorism, and we have a president that doesn’t want to use the term, he refuses to use the term, even though there are so many problems,” Trump said.
Lauer asked: “I’m just getting to the point now, are you softening your stance and using subtle differences in words simply to be more moderate to try to attract people like Speaker Ryan and to get an endorsement?”
Trump denied Lauer’s suggestion, but said he was always “flexible” on issues.
“No, I’m not softening my stance at all, but I’m always flexible on issues,” Trump said. “I am totally flexible on very, very many issues and I think you have to be that way. But I’m not softening my stance. We have a major problem, and we have to look at the problem. We have to solve the problem.”
In December, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” with the terrorism “problem.”