Since he locked up the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump has furiously backtracked on a number of key positions he took during the heated primary.
As my colleague Jim Geraghty has written: “Within 24 hours of becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump had reversed his positions on tax increases, paying down the debt, raising the minimum wage, and self-financing his campaign. It was a busy day.”
Now, Trump seems to be backing away from one of the three signature issues (renegotiating trade agreements and building the border wall are the other two) that added rocket fuel to his quixotic presidential campaign: the “temporary Muslim entry ban.”
Last night in an interview with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren, Trump said, “sure I’d back off on [the Muslim ban]. I’d like to back off it as soon as possible. Because frankly, I’d like to see something happen [to solve the problem].”
He then pivoted to proposing a commission — headed by former New York City mayor Rudy Guliani — that would look into the problem of Islamic terrorism.
Also on Wednesday, in response to a question from Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Trump defended the proposed ban, while also appearing to hedge his bets. “We have a serious problem, and it’s a temporary ban — it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” Trump said.
Reasonable people can disagree over the efficacy and the constitutionality of Trump’s proposal for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” (Charles Krauthammer and National Review’s Andrew McCarthy took different sides of the debate.) But what interests me more is this: If Trump will back away on this, what won’t he backtrack on?
Trump’s enthusiasts have repeatedly said that Donald J. Trump is the only candidate in the race who won’t bow to pressure, political correctness, or political expediency.