Last winter, as Donald Trump was beginning to refine his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants to the United States, two of his former opponents in the presidential race—Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz—gave their own spin on his proposal, naming the one group the U.S. should always welcome in the face of persecution: Christians.
Half a year later, Trump’s campaign is still trying to square its desire to bar Muslims with Republican support for granting refuge to persecuted Christians.
On Monday morning, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence joined the conservative Wisconsin talk-radio host Charlie Sykes for an interview. The Republican vice-presidential candidate talked about his ticket’s plan for Syrian refugee resettlement: Suspending immigration from “countries like Syria … is in the best interest of the security of our people,” he said.”
When Sykes pressed him on whether this country-based ban would mean that Jews and Christians are also excluded from coming to the United States, Pence groped his way back to the party line.
“We would temporarily suspend [immigration] from countries or from territories … that have been compromised by terrorism,” he said. “I think that’s appropriate until we develop a new vetting system.”