Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced on Monday that if elected he would screen prospective U.S. visa applicants for political viewpoints. In Youngstown, Ohio, he announced that “those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country.”
The Associated Press reported earlier Monday that the process “would assess a candidate’s stances on issues like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights” and attempt to ascertain whether “they support American values like tolerance and pluralism,” by relying on interview questionnaires, social media searches, and reference checks.
In his speech, Trump offered few specifics on how he would determine who would “embrace a tolerant American society” and who would not, but did repeatedly vow that the process would be “extreme.”
Trump’s own statements, his party’s platform, and the records of many prominent leaders in his own party would likely be rejected under such a standard.
Trump, for example, has used sexist rhetoric toward women and dismissed the need for equal pay legislation, saying women will “make the same if you do as good a job.” He has not only opposed legal equality for LGBT Americans but defended homophobes for their outrage over Michael Sam kissing his then-boyfriend on television and warned that America was “going to hell” as a result. He has also attacked the Islamic faith, proposed a ban on Muslim travel to the U.S. and shutting down American mosques, tweeted anti-Semitic memes, and re-tweeted Nazi sympathizers.
The Republican Party platform, adopted last month by the same delegates who nominated Trump for the presidency, also contradicts these values. It implicitly embraces dangerous “ex-gay” conversion therapy, explicitly rejects same-sex marriage equality and protecting trans people under existing sex discrimination laws, and backs the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” which would grant special protections to people who oppose LGBT equality on religious grounds.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) repeatedly helped filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act, calling the equal pay law “just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.” He and most of his GOP caucus also opposed legislation to ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Other prominent Republicans who would likely be unable to come to America based on their records include Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who tried to get a prison chaplain fired purely for her religious beliefs, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who argued that Christians should be privileged over Muslims in the immigration process because there is “ no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror,” and his own running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), who claimed that same-couples were a sign of impending “societal collapse.”
Trump campaign senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday that Trump’s speech “will explain that while we can’t choose our friends, we must always recognize our enemies.”
This story has been updated to include Trump’s speech.