The White House press secretary on Wednesday sidestepped a question about past comments President Donald Trump’s chief strategist made on Islam being “not a religion of peace.”
Instead, Sean Spicer emphasized that the President’s recent executive order on immigration targeted “places and areas where we believe there’s an issue,” not any religion.
Spicer was asked at the daily press briefing about recently surfaced comments from Steve Bannon, who was recorded in 2010 saying “Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a religion of submission.”
“I think the President has been very clear his number one goal is not to target anyone’s religion but places and areas where we believe there is an issue,” Spicer responded. “That’s what the executive order was all about the other day, making sure that areas we don’t feel have proper mechanisms in place to ensure security, that when they travel to the United States, we know they’re coming here for peaceful purposes.”
“The President’s number one goal has always been to focus on the safety of America, not the religion,” Spicer continued. “He understands that it’s not a religious problem, it’s a radicalization problem. There’s a big difference between Islam, the religion, and radical islamic terrorists that come here to seek to do us harm.”
The reporter followed up: “Nothing about his comment the President wants to distance himself from or elaborate on?”
“I just made it clear there’s a difference between the President’s view,” Spicer said.