Donald Trump says Syrian Christians will get priority refugee status

Friday 27 January 2017 23:05 GMT
Mr Trump has ordered a suspension of visas for people from seven countries
Mr Trump has ordered a suspension of visas for people from seven countries (Getty)

US President Donald Trump has said that Syrian Christians will get priority for refugee status in America during an interview set to air on Sunday.

In a clip from the president's interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mr Trump says that Christians in Syria have been “horribly treated” before going on to add: “If you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, very, very tough to get into the United States.

“If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians.”

Mr Trump signed an executive order on Friday that will suspend travel visas for anyone from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. The order will affect people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, reports suggested.

According to the Pew Research Centre, the numbers of Muslim and Christian refugees from all countries entering the United States were around the same last year. 37,521 Christian refugees entered the US during 2016, with 38,901 Muslim refugees entering in the same period.

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Mr Trump campaigned on hardline anti-immigration rhetoric, saying in December 2015 that he wanted a “total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States”.

He has also signed an executive order telling government agencies to start planning for his promised wall between Mexico and the US, along with the hiring of 5,000 additional border patrol officers.

As well as his comments on Christian Syrians, Trump was trailed by the network saying that he had “always felt the need to pray”.

“The office is so powerful that you need God even more,” Trump said in attempts to signal his religious credentials. “There’s almost not a decision you make when you’re sitting in this position that isn’t a really life altering position, so God comes into it even more so.”

Though Mr Trump’s Christianity has been questioned in the past, the same is rarely said for his Vice President, Mike Pence, who took to the stage at Friday’s anti-abortion March for Life in Washington DC as the first Vice President to do so.

Speaking to the crowd, he said that the administration would “work with Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers” and suggested that Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court vacancy would also be anti-abortion.

In another trailer for the CBN interview, Trump said that he thinks Evangelicals “will love my pick and will be represented very fairly”, again suggesting that the nominee will come from America’s religious right.

The interview will be aired at 11pm EST on Sunday, January 29th.

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