Following the massive protests that have erupted across the country in response to his latest executive order freezing all refugees from Syria and banning entry to foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, president Donald Trump released a statement Sunday claiming “this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.” However, as we have come to expect from Donald Trump, nearly every word of that sentence is false.
However, as we have come to expect from Donald Trump, nearly every word of that sentence is false. These are the facts:
It is a Muslim ban. Even his most fervent surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, admitted the disturbing truth during an interview on Fox News (see video below).
“I’ll tell you the whole story,” Giuliani said. “So, when Trump announced it he said “Muslim ban.” He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'”
Giuliani said he then put together a commission that included lawmakers and expert lawyers.
“And what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger,” Giuliani said. “Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible.”
More evidence that the order is about religion was provided by Trump himself when he vowed on Christian Broadcast Network that he would allow Christians to enter from the banned countries list but not Muslims.
“If you were a Muslim, you could come in,” Trump said, “but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” Trump said of our refugee system. This is, of course, another lie. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 the United States brought in 37,521 Christian refugees and 38,901 Muslims refugees.
It is not about terror. There is no great fear of terrorism from refugees. Of the 784,000 refugees resettled in the United States over the last 15 years, exactly three have been arrested for minor infractions, according to a Cato Institute report by Alex Nowrasteh.
This is not about keeping our country safe. Between 1975 and 2016, exactly zero Americans were killed on US soil by foreign nationals from any of the seven countries in Trump’s banned list.
However, the ban does include our most vital ally in the fight against ISIS, Iraq. That country has now threatened to retaliate against the executive order by banning US nationals from entering Iraq, putting America’s war against ISIS in great peril.
As the former counterterrorism official Daniel Benjamin put it, “For the life of me, I don’t see why we would want to alienate the Iraqis when they are the ground force against ISIS.”
So, to be clear, this is a Muslim ban. It is about religion. It is not about terror. And it does not keep our country safe.
It’s also about Trump’s business empire. According to Bloomberg Politics, Donald Trump’s banned list doesn’t include majority Muslim countries where the Trump organization has done business or pursued potential deals including the United Arab Emirates (golf courses) and Turkey (luxury towers.)
Here’s Giuliani’s interview: