When Donald Trump first proposed banning non-citizens Muslims from the United States last December, he repeatedly said the ban was necessary.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” he said. “We have no choice… we have no choice.”
But during a radio interview with Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday, Trump softened his tone considerably, saying the ban “hasn’t been called for yet” and is “just a suggestion.”
Trump walked back the Muslim ban in response to a question about new London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim who characterized Trump’s view of Islam as “ignorant… it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of extremists.”
Here’s what Trump said:
Trump on Muslim ban to Kilmeade in response to Sadiq Khan: "…it hasn't been called for yet…nobody's done it." pic.twitter.com/LfTwnwZKQe
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) May 11, 2016
Trump’s new line about the Muslim ban is one of three significant policy reversals he’s made since becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee last week. He’s also broken from his primary season positions by expressing openness to a federal minimum wage increase and tweaking his tax plan to make it less expensive.
A YouGov/HuffPost poll published in March showed that a majority of Americans (51 percent) actually support Trump’s Muslim ban, up slightly from 45 percent shortly after he first articulated the idea. According to the March survey, 62 percent of Americans who identify as politically independent support Trump’s plan.
Trump has previously suggested there’d be “exceptions” to his Muslim ban so people like Khan could still travel to the country.