President Donald Trump on Monday declined to apologize for his campaign-era proposal to ban all Muslims from the United States, saying “there’s nothing to apologize for.”
“There’s no reason to apologize,” Trump said during a joint news conference alongside the President of Nigeria when asked if he would apologize for his call during the 2016 presidential campaign for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. There’s nothing to apologize for. We have to have strong immigration laws to protect our country.”
Trump’s refusal to apologize for or rescind his calls during the 2016 campaign for banning all Muslims from entering the United States has been repeatedly cited during court cases concerning the travel ban he put in place last year. Trump said he did not believe an apology would change the course of the legal case.
Instead, Trump continued to slam current US immigration laws during the news conference Monday.
“Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. They’re laughed at all over the world,” Trump said.
Minutes earlier, he had derided US immigration laws as “weak,” “pathetic” and “obsolete.”
“Just look at our southern border and look at our weak and obsolete immigration laws. And they are obsolete and they are weak and they are pathetic,” Trump said. “And there’s no country in the world that has laws like we do and they’ve got to change and they’ve got to change now for the safety of our country.”
Trump’s comment came as he discussed loopholes in US immigration laws that he said can be exploited by terrorists and traffickers — but it also came as his administration is keeping an eye on the arrival of the migrant caravan at the US-Mexican border.
Trump said his administration is closely monitoring developments involving the caravan and has previously pledged to keep any migrants from entering the US illegally.
Trump’s refusal to apologize for his calls for a Muslim ban during the campaign have dogged the legal case surrounding the travel ban he put in place against multiple Muslim-majority countries, with opponents of the measure arguing that it is an effort to ban Muslims from the US.
The latest iteration of Trump’s travel ban is now before the US Supreme Court, which last week heard oral arguments in the case. During the arguments, several justices pressed the government on Trump’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from the US.
The US solicitor general, Noel Francisco, argued that campaign statements “should be out of bounds.”
“Campaign statements are made by a private citizen before he takes the oath of office and before, under the Opinions Clause of the Constitution, receives the advice of his Cabinet, and that those are constitutionally significant acts that mark the fundamental transformation from being a private citizen to the embodiment of the executive branch,” Francisco said.
“But I would also say here it doesn’t matter, because, here, the statements that they principally rely on don’t actually address the meaning of the proclamation itself. This is not a so-called Muslim ban. If it were, it would be the most ineffective Muslim ban that one could possibly imagine since not only does it exclude the vast majority of the Muslim world, it also omits three Muslim-majority countries that were covered by past orders, including Iraq, Chad and Sudan,” he added.