Date: May 23, 2016

Trump continues lying about Muslim ban

Presumptive Republican nominee for president Donald Trump gets credit from his supporters–and even some of his detractors–for being “politically incorrect,” but now it looks like he is backing down from his controversial statements in the face of pressure.

In an interview on Fox News radio, Trump denied that he had made a proposal for a Muslim ban, calling it a “suggestion,” instead: “We have a serious problem, and it’s a temporary ban — it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on.”

Walid Phares, a Christian who immigrated from Lebanon and a policy advisor for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign as well as for Trump, also downplayed Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from enterring the country, saying, “Right now the ban is just a few sentences in a foreign policy announcement and a tweet, it’s not like he’s written books or published articles or delivered lectures on this.”

Both of them are lying. Trump has proposed banning Muslims and put out a press release “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,” and he featured his proposal in his first television ad, as well as in speeches and interviews.

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In fact, Trump’s opposition to Muslims entering the country has helped win him votes in the Republican primary. Polls show a majority of Republicans support the proposal. 71 percent of Republicans, including 84 percent of Trump supporters, but just 48 percent of Kasich backers and 65 percent supporting Cruz, according to a Morning Consult poll in March.

Still, it’s not the first time he has cowed to political correctness and lied about his positions in an attempt to moderate himself.

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The Realist civil war and Donald Trump

I’ve covered elections since 2008, both as a blogger and journalist. As a blogger, writing about two US elections of 2008 and 2012, and the Indian general election and the UK election. As a journalist and correspondent, New Zealand elections and Fiji elections. Never in my life, have I encountered an anomaly like Donald Trump.

Now, as a foreign policy researcher (and as my publications show, I consider myself to be a neorealist) and I have written enough about why neither Trump, nor Obama are realists of any sort. Other realists have written similarly as well. (Walt on Obama, Walt on Trump, Joffe on Obama, Blatt on Trump)

But that debate suddenly just got vicious.

As readers remember, Daniel Drezner first wrote about how Trump is/will be accepted as a foreign policy realist, because of how he sounds realist, has specific policy proposals similar to the stark realist world even some realists shudder to think about. I flinched at the thought then. But it is no shame to write now, perhaps I was wrong, and I underestimated Trump’s legitimisation within the realist foreign policy community.

The recent episode was the firing of a fellow of National Interest, who like a lot of realists, opposed this legitimisation of Trump by hosting him and correctly pointed out in an essay for the War on the Rocks, (where I write occasionally as well, which I must mention here for the sake of balance), that Trump is a charlatan and is too incoherent to be a realist president. Of course National Interest justified the hosting of Trump but it was not convincing, to say the least.

So where does that leave realists now?

I believe, this is what we see,

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