Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

As Donald Trump blanketed the airwaves defending his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, he frequently stumbled when asked for concrete details of how such a ban would work.

How, for instance, would customs officials identify people as Muslim? Just ask them, Trump said.

Would the ban apply to U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. from abroad? At first his campaign said yes, it would. But Trump himself later seemed to indicate it would not.

Would there by any other exceptions? That appeared to be a work in progress, with Trump exempting certain subcategories of Muslims as interviewers pressed him.

The shoot-from-the-hip-first-and-ask-questions-later approach was typical Trump. Leaders lead. Details are for pedants. But it was particularly discordant as most of the political world recoiled over Trump's most xenophobic pander yet.

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MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough cut to commercial in the middle of a phone interview with Donald Trump on Monday morning when the Republican presidential candidate would not stop talking to let Scarborough ask a question.

"You’ve got to let us ask questions, you can’t just talk," Scarborough told Trump.

"Joe, I’m not just talking," Trump responded.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to take a stand against Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.

When asked if he would support such a ban on Monday, Cruz replied, "No, that is not my policy," but did not criticize Trump, according to the Texas Tribune.

"I believe the focus should focus on radical Islamic terrorism, and we need to be directly focused on threats to the United States," he continued. "We need a commander in chief that perceives what the threat is and that targets all of our resources to protecting this nation against radical Islamic terrorism."

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Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Monday night grilled Donald Trump on his new proposal to ban all Muslims from immigrating the United States, but the real estate mogul defended his plan.

She asked Trump if the ban would apply to Muslim-American military members returning from overseas.

"They’ll come home. And we have to be vigilant. And we have to take care of the Muslims that are living here, but we have to be vigilant," Trump responded.

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A federal judge said on Monday that he will not hold a hearing this week on Texas' lawsuit against the federal government and a nonprofit refugee aid group, the ACLU of Texas told the Dallas Morning News.

"The court held an informal status conference by telephone with parties today, and there will be no hearing on Texas’s motion for preliminary injunction this week," Rebecca L. Robertson, the ACLU of Texas' policy and legal director, said in a statement.

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Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R) last month dismissed a statement from Nevada Republicans calling for the state to bar refugees from Syria, and said that she is prepared to travel to Paris to shoot Syrian refugees herself.

During her weekly show on Las Vegas radio station KWDN, Fiore discussed why she did not sign onto the statement from Republican members of the state assembly opposing resettling Syrian refugees in Nevada. Fiore recounted a conversation with Nevada GOP political consultant Chuck Muth, who asked her why she didn't sign onto the statement.

"What--are you kidding me? I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ‘em in the head myself!" Fiore said she told Muth when asked why she didn't join the statement on Syrian refugees.

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Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, on Friday night told students that they should obtain concealed-carry permits so that they can "end those Muslims before they walk in and kill us."

During the school's weekly convocation, Falwell dismissed calls for gun control in the wake of the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California.

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Saturday dismissed the U.S. military's July decision to lift the ban on transgender troops and instead backed the the military's old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation,” Carson said at a town hall with the Concerned Veterans for America in Iowa. "When our men and women are out there fighting the enemy, the last thing that we need to be doing is saying, 'What would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into this platoon?' Give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else."

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) met with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin on Wednesday after Catholic Charities announced plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the state this month despite objections from Pence.

Following the Paris terrorist attack, the governor ordered state agencies to suspend aid to refugees from Syria, citing security concerns. And he has asked that Catholic Charities refrain from resettling a Syrian family in the state in December.

However, the Catholic Church so far has stated that it will still help the Syrian family move to Indiana and that it has received donations to cover the costs of resettling the family, according to the Indianapolis Star.

"We’re moving ahead with the intention that they are coming here," Greg Otolski, spokesman for the archdiocese, told the Indianapolis Star this week. “Unless something happens that makes the situation seem really unwelcoming in Indiana, we want them here.”

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The state of Texas on Wednesday sued the federal government over plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the state, citing the government's failure to properly consult state officials, but it's not clear that immigration law will allow the state of Texas to prevail over the federal government when it comes to refugee resettlement, according to a legal expert.

In the complaint filed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the state claims that the federal government "breached this statutory duty of advance consultation" by preventing the state from receiving information about the refugees set to arrive in the state and by "refusing to consult with the State in advance on placement of refugees in Texas." The complaint cites a provision in the Refugee Act of 1980 that states that the federal government must consult with the states about plans to resettle refugees.

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