If Trump wasn’t an out-and-out enemy of the journalistic community before he was president he most certainly has been one since. Both he and Press Secretary Sean Spicer have repeatedly chosen to awkwardly dance around the facts rather than deal honestly with the media. The administration’s handling of the chaos in the aftermath of this weekend’s Muslim ban seems to be a continuation of that same pattern.
The ban prevents people from 7 Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, it prevents refugees from entering for 120 days and defers the entry of any Syrians indefinitely. Arguably this puts the ban’s priorities exactly backwards in terms of lives lost.
On top of that the move was made so quickly and without cross-examination that it wound up having a number of unnecessary consequences, without actually making anyone safer. And yet when Sean Spencer addressed the press instead of gracefully correcting course he took issue with the standard terminology:
It’s not a Muslim ban; it’s not a travel ban. It is a vetting system to keep America safe; that’s it.
What’s most shocking about this is not the fact that it’s clearly a focus on semantics to shift the attention away from the Trump administration. That much is common among politicians; doubly so for many tied to Trump. But the truly hypocritical part of this response is that both Spicer and Trump referred to the ban as a ban on numerous occasions. Here’s a statement from Spicer just prior to the ban:
It’s a 90-day ban to ensure that we have further vetting restrictions, so that we know who’s coming into this country.
And another statement Spicer gave at George Washington University AFTER the ban had taken place:
Let me just walk through the tick-tock: the ban deals with 7 countries that the Obama administration had previously identified as being further with travel restrictions.
But the biggest hypocrite here is Trump. During his campaign he not only referred to his – whatever we’re supposed to call it – as a ban but clearly stated that it should be directed at Muslims:
Donald J. Trump is 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.
That statement is still available on his website even as he insists that the ban isn’t about Muslims.
Here’s The Full Video Of Tapper Fact Checking Trump’s Odd Semantics Lesson:
Featured Image via Chip Somodevilla & Win McNamee/Getty