Trump campaign erases call for Muslim ban from website 'minutes' after reporter brings it up

It doesn't seem like a coincidence

Emily Shugerman
New York
Tuesday 09 May 2017 15:08 BST
ABC's Cecile Vega presses White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing
ABC's Cecile Vega presses White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing (

References to Donald Trump's promised “Muslim ban” have been scrubbed from his campaign website minutes after a White House reporter brought them up in a press briefing.

During the briefing ABC’s Cecilia Vega asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer why the Trump campaign website still calls for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” when the White House has denied that Mr Trump's executive order to block travel from six Muslim-majority countries is a "Muslim ban".

“I'm not aware of what's on the campaign website. You'd have to ask them,” Mr Spicer replied.

Minutes later, the statement in question – which states “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 is going on” – was gone. Screenshots archived on the WayBack Machine show the page was live as of that morning.

Mr Trump repeatedly promised to institute a ban on Muslim immigration during his campaign, even saying he would consider shutting down mosques and establishing a Muslim registry.

But Mr Spicer said on Monday that Mr Trump has always been “very clear” that the intent of the order was not to ban Muslims, but to “make sure that the people who are coming in here are coming in here with the right motives”.

Several judges, however, saw it differently. A federal judge in Maryland blocked the order from taking effect in March, pointing to Mr Trump’s campaign-trail statements as evidence of religious animus. The attorney general of Hawaii, where a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on the ban in March, said the order was like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim Ban, Muslim Ban’”.

“We cannot fault the president for being politically incorrect, but we do fault him for being constitutionally incorrect,” the attorney general said.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal for the travel ban on Monday, around the time it was being discussed at the press conference. Judges on the appeals court struggled with whether to take Mr Trump’s past statements into account when considering the constitutionality of the travel ban.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffery Wall defended Mr Trump by saying the Muslim ban proposal was written "before [the President] took the oath".

"It is an archived press statement from 16 months ago," Mr Wall said. "We took an oath and formed a government."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in