Yet another top surrogate for Donald Trump has come forward to say that the presumptive GOP nominee’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. had nothing to do with faith.
“I don’t think it was ever a ban directed at religion,” Carl Paladino, the former New York GOP gubernatorial nominee, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
“Expecting a clear definition is a little bit much in the middle of a presidential campaign,” he added as a disclaimer.
Trump’s initial proposal explicitly targeted followers of Islam. In December, he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Though Trump has since announced several modifications, most recently that only immigrants from “terrorist countries” would be barred entry, he has not been shy about expressly calling to keep Muslims out.
Trump’s supporters and staffers have struggled with messaging on the ban, often contradicting each other and the candidate himself.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week that the ban was not “and never has been” directed towards Muslims. But Trump’s national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, said Monday that the new call to only ban immigrants from countries with a history of terrorist attacks was a mere “refining” rather than a substantive shift.