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In His Words: Donald Trump on the Muslim Ban, Deportations

During his two-day Scottish property tour, Donald Trump spurred headlines and questions surrounding his controversial temporary Muslim ban and plans to deport undocumented immigrants in the United States.

On Saturday, during gaggles held on four holes of his Aberdeen golf course, Trump told reporters it “wouldn’t bother” him if a Scottish Muslim came into the United States under his proposed policy plan. The response poked a glaring hole in Trump’s initial blanket ban of all Muslims entering the United States and prompted multiple – and still unanswered -- questions about what this meant for Trump’s most controversial policy going into the general election.

Donald Trump losing ground to Hillary Clinton in new poll 1:56

A few hours after the gaggle, in an interview with Bloomberg, Trump was confronted with his plans for immigration – the very hot button issue that launched Trump’s candidacy in a cloud of controversy. On his plans to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, Trump said that he “would not call it mass deportation” and later tweeted that he did not like that terminology. He did not, however, clarify if deportations were still a central theme of his plan – though this was very clearly established point during the primaries.

Here he is in his own words, on both of these issues:

The Muslim Ban

December 7, 2015

Just a few hours before a rally in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Donald Trump released a policy proposal online which 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.” The 2015 policy proposed a blanket ban on Muslims based on what Trump called “hatred” of the West innate in Islam.

In the days that followed, Trump pointed to what he considered historical precedent to defend his singling out of the Muslim religion with his ban. He used FDR’s Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527, which applied to Japanese, Italian, and German Americans in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor as examples. Those proclamations authorized the U.S. to “detain allegedly potentially dangerous enemy aliens” and led to the internment of many of these individuals.

December 8, 2015

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump said “take a look at [FDR’s] presidential proclamations back a long time ago, 2525, 2526, 2527. What he was doing with Germans, Italians, and Japanese because he had to do it.” Trump also pushed back on the premise that he was ordering internment camps but said “we have to get a hand around a very serious problem.” When asked directly about the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Trump said “we’re not talking about internment; this is a whole different thing.”

October 29, 2015

On Fox Business’ Varney and Company, Trump advocated for the first time monitoring mosques as a way to deal with radical Islamic terror. Asked if he’d consider closing some mosques, Trump said “absolutely, I think it’s great.” Moments later, when pressed on if he could actually close mosques, Trump was less certain. “Well, I don't know. I haven't heard about the closing of the mosque. It depends if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don't know. You're going to have to certainly look at it.”

June 13, 2016

One day after the Pulse Nightclub terror attack that left 49 dead in Orlando, Florida, Trump spoke about the need to suspend immigration, this time not explicitly mentioning his proposed Muslim ban. Trump promised to “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.” These new calls for tightened immigration rules read by many as an expansion of his already strict immigration policy.

The position became further clouded in a tweet after the speech, with Trump including a new specification: “suspending immigration from nations tied to Islamic terror.” The tweet seemed to narrow the Muslim ban’s focus to states with Islamic terror ties but marked a departure from Trump’s previous blanket policy prescriptions.

Questions remain about Trump's Muslim ban 7:48

June 15, 2016

In Atlanta, Georgia, Trump once again reiterated his support for a Muslim ban, saying that the ban applied “in particular” to people “coming from certain horrible” parts of the world with terror ties, but not calling for an end to a blanket ban on Muslims.

“We have to stop, on a temporary basis, at least but we have to stop people from pouring into our country. … It's a temporary ban, in particular for certain people coming from certain horrible -- where you have tremendous terrorism in the world, you know what those places are. But we have to put a stop to it. We have to put a stop to it, until such time as we can figure out what is going on. Because right now, we don't have a clue what's going on, folks. We don't have a clue.”

At that same rally, Trump also continued to push for monitoring mosques. “We have to go and we have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques, and we have to check other places because this is a problem that, if we don't solve it, it's going to eat our country alive. OK? It's going to eat our country alive.”

June 22, 2016

Trump’s tone on Muslims shifted during a Clinton-focused speech just before his Scotland trip. Trump’s usual rhetoric on radical Islamic terror was replaced by comments about “peaceful Muslims.” On Wednesday, in a large room at his Trump SoHo Hotel, the GOP nominee discussed ISIS as an entity separate from Islam as a whole and distinguished them from “peaceful Muslims.” He said at the time: "ISIS also threatens peaceful Muslims across the Middle East, and peaceful Muslims across the world, who have been terribly victimized by horrible brutality – and who only want to raise their kids in peace and safety.”

June 25, 2016

Traveling on business in Scotland, Trump responded to a question during his third gaggle of the day about whether he would be OK with a Scottish or British Muslim coming into the United States, in light of his ban. Trump replied: “doesn’t bother me, doesn’t bother me.”

After another Q&A session, this one on the course’s 18th green, Trump told the Daily Mail: “I don’t want people coming in – I don’t want people coming in from certain countries. I don’t want people coming in from the terror countries. You have terror countries! I don’t want them, unless they’re very, very strongly vetted.”

When asked which countries constitute the “terror countries,” Trump said, “they’re pretty well decided. All you have to do is look!"

Walking with several reporters off the golf course, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that the candidate’s just-articulated policy wasn’t a change from his explicitly proposed plans. National finance chairman Steven Mnuchin articulated a terror and country-focus to Trump’s plan, saying “it is about terrorism and not about religion. It’s about Muslims from countries that support terrorism.”

A few hours later on Saturday, eating lunch in his clubhouse, Trump told Bloomberg News “I want terrorists out. I want people that have bad thoughts out. I would limit specific terrorist countries and we know who those countries are.”

June 27, 2016

Questions on Trump's confusing comments followed him back across the pond. In a brief phone call with NBC, Trump said his Muslim ban would apply "in particular [to] the terrorist states." It's still unclear if this extra vetting subsumes his blanket ban or if this is an extra layer of focus within the existing ban.

Trump did however open up the ban to include all people, of all religions who come from Trump-designated terror states. When pressed by NBC's Hallie Jackson on whether his ban would apply to other religions other than Islam, for example Christians in Syria, Trump allowed that : "Christians are going to be vetted very, very seriously, if you're a Christian and you try to get in from Syria."

Trump then added that he thinks "Christians from Syria have been treated unbelievably badly by this country," further confusing the parameters of his ban.

When asked which "terror nations" Trump would focus on, he did not give much by way of criteria for designation these countries. "Terror nations," Trump repeated. "Look it up. They have a list of terror nations."

Trump was, however, unequivocal about immigrants from Syria, telling NBC that he "would stop that entirely" and again pushing for safe zones in Syria. "We'll work with other people to put up the money" for that, Trump said, echoing what he's said on the campaign trail that he'd ask Gulf Nations to pay for said safe zone. Trump has previously promised that all refugees in the US from Syria will be sent back if he is elected.

Full MTP Interview with Trump's Campaign Chair 8:07

Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

Trump does not state in his original policy plan that he wants to deport all undocumented immigrants. He outlines the need to deport “all illegal aliens in gangs” as well as “all criminal aliens,” and advocates “criminal penalties” for those individuals who overstay or refuse to leave after their visas expire. Absent from this plan are the words “mass deportation” – but that doesn’t mean it’s not implied in the policy prescription.

On the trail, Trump’s hawkish tone on immigration has been on display from the start – saying clearly that he will seek to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States if he is elected. The refrain that “they have to come in legally” is one of Trump’s more consistent policy tenets.

August 16, 2015

Trump tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that he would “keep the families together…but they have to go.” He notes that they could come back through a legal process.

November 12, 2015

Trump’s Fort Dodge, Iowa rally was dominated by coverage of his remarks about Ben Carson being “pathological” and comparing his former rival to a child molester. But during that rally Trump asserted his deportation stance clearly: “I’m tougher on illegal immigration than anybody. That’s what I’m saying we have to take people that are here illegally and we have to move them out and you know what, it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done, it’s going to work and now even the other candidates are saying, ‘you know what, I think he’s right.’ They don’t know, we have to do it.”

That same day, however, Trump denounced Mitt Romney’s self-deportation plan, calling it “mean spirited” and saying that his own, similar plan is anything but during an interview with Fox’s Bret Baier. Trump said Romney’s plan “was crazy, because it doesn’t work. [Romney] was talking about people are just going to walk out of the country.”

But as Trump outlined how his own plan would work, the differences seemed scarce. Trump described his plans as wanting “people to go out and to have to come in through the legal process.” The main difference, Trump maintained then and in other interviews at the time, was that Trump’s plan would allow people to re-enter legally and that the deportation process, while not detailed, would be humane. “There will be deportation,” Trump said. “And hopefully they’ll be able to come back into the country.”

April 28, 2016

Asked by NBC’s Matt Lauer if he’s backing off talk of the wall along the Southern border and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, Trump replied: “no, not at all.” He doubled down then saying that “when I'm talking about immigration…I'm talking about that and more in the form of immigration, the wall, undocumented immigrants being -- having to be brought out of the country. And we will do that. It has never been a worse situation than we have right now.”

June 25, 2016

Trump tells Bloomberg News that he would have a “heart” with his immigration policies, attacking President Obama for deporting “vast numbers of people.”

“I think people are going to find that I have not only the best policies, but I will have the biggest heart of anybody,” Trump said in the interview. When asked about if he would issue “mass deportations” Trump responded, “no, I would not call it mass deportations.” He did not elaborate on if his prior calls for exactly that were no longer on the table.