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Trump proposes ideological test for Muslim immigrants and visitors to the U.S.

🕐 4 min read

Donald Trump proposed on Monday a new ideological test for all Muslim immigrants and visitors to this country, allowing entry only to “those who support our values.”

“Those who support bigotry and hatred” will not be admitted to the United States, said Trump. “Only those we expect to flourish in this country and to embrace a tolerant American society should be issued visas.”

The proposal, which the campaign said also draws its precedent from Reagan-era presidential proclamations prohibiting the entry of illegal migrants by sea, was part of a speech that Trump delivered Monday in Ohio outlining his plan to “Combat Radical Islamic Terror.”

The plan also includes previously announced initiatives to temporarily suspend visas from Muslim-majority countries and others with a “history” of exporting terrorists until there are new procedures and it is “safe to resume.”

Trump also criticized what he called President Obama’s focus on “nation building,” saying it had failed.

Instead, Trump said his administration will concentrate on “destroying ISIS” and would conduct joint military operations with any country that shares that goal. ISIS, ISIL and Daesh are alternate terms for the Islamic State.

The reference to joint operations is apparently to Russia, which opposes U.S. support for moderate opposition forces trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally. Trump has said he would join forces with Russia to combat the Islamic State.

The Obama administration has made a similar proposal to Russia, on the condition that the nation restrain Assad from bombing civilians and opposition groups that are party to a cease-fire that both Assad and Moscow signed.

U.S. warplanes, and those of allies in a 65-nation coalition, have carried out more than 14,000 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq over the past two years, Obama said at a news conference last week.

Trump’s speech is one of a series of prepared remarks the Republican presidential nominee has scheduled, amid criticism of controversial off-the-cuff policy pronouncements that he has later dismissed as jokes or sarcasm.

Most recently, Trump labeled Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, as “founders” of the Islamic State, a charge he began making during last year’s primary campaigns.

“He’s the founder of ISIS, OK? He’s the founder. He founded ISIS,” Trump said of Obama at a Florida rally last week. “And I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.” Although he subsequently labeled the remark as sarcasm, Trump then said that Obama and Clinton had created the “vacuum” that allowed the Islamic State to form, an apparent reference to the 2011 U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

Through the Republican primary season, Trump and his rivals blamed Clinton for opening the door to the rise of the Islamic State and goaded her for what they called a weak strategy against the militants once they gained firm footing.

Trump and others sought to make Clinton look soft on terrorism by repeatedly pointing out that she refused to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe the group’s ideology. Clinton replied, as did Obama, that such terminology demonized the Muslim faith and risked making enemies of potential Muslim supporters and informants.

In his speech Monday, Trump said his administration would be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a Trump adviser, described Trump’s strategy as “foreign policy realism.” Trump, the senator said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” was “going to talk about how you target your enemies and work with your friends. You don’t overreach and destabilize countries like the Obama/Clinton administration has done.”

Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, Mike Pence, told Fox News on Sunday that Trump would provide “real specifics” about “broad-shouldered leadership” along the lines of former president Ronald Reagan.

Pence discounted criticism from fellow Republicans, including 50 top former national security officials who last week issued a statement saying Trump was too reckless to be president and they would not vote for him.

“They were saying about the same thing” of Reagan before his election, Pence said.

Beyond new twists on previously stated immigration policies, much of Trump’s planned remarks appear to be drawn from campaign appearances and a lengthy foreign policy speech he delivered in April. In the speech, he said that under a Trump administration, America would be “getting out of the nation-building business” and would “work together with any nation in the region that is threatened by the rise of radical Islam.”

During the primary campaign, Trump said he would “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State, and “I would bomb the s— out of them. I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”

In April, he said he had a “great plan” to defeat the militants, but was keeping it secret to avoid tipping them off. “We’re gonna beat ISIS very, very quickly. folks. It’s gonna be fast. I have a great plan. It’s going to be great. They ask ‘What is it?’ Well, I’d rather not say. I’d rather be unpredictable.”

Last month, he told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he intended to “declare war against ISIS,” but would “have very few troops on the ground. We’re going to have unbelievable intelligence.”

Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

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