Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” while discussing President Donald Trump executive order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, guest host Martha Raddatz asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer why Christian refugees were “more worthy of admission to the United States than Muslims or even Jewish refugees?”
Partial transcript as follows:
RADDATZ: OK. The executive order also stipulates that after the refugee program is reinstated in 120 days, the government will prioritize religious minorities persecuted in their country. How will you determine what religion people are? How do you vet them?
SPICER: During this 120-day period, we’re going to put a system in place that looks country by country, group by group, and make sure we put appropriate vetting in place. Again —
RADDATZ: A religious test?
SPICER: Hold on, no. What we’re going to do is make sure that people who have been persecuted for either religious or other reasons have an opportunity to apply and go through a vetting system that ensures they’re coming to this country to seek asylum, to seek a new life for themselves or their family, but to do so with peaceful purposes.
RADDATZ: OK, President Trump said during an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network that persecuted Christian refugees should be seen as a priority. Why —
SPICER: Well, in some countries they should.
RADDATZ: Why are Christian refugees — let me finish. Why are Christian refugees more worthy of admission to the United States than Muslims or even Jewish refugees?
SPICER: Well, it’s a question of making sure that in many so of these countries they are the persecuted group. And so it’s just — it’s a fact that when they live in a majority country of another religion, they are a minority being persecuted, not able to practice their religion, in some cases under threat. And so it’s just a fact that they are being persecuted in some of these countries and we need to make sure we recognize them so that they can come to this country and be able to practice their religion in accordance with our laws and our constitution.
RADDATZ: If you feel the threat is so great from these countries and so great from these refugees, why just 90 days? Why just 120 days? Can you really get this done?
SPICER: I think we can. And that’s the point, is to make sure that we put the safety of our nation first and foremost, And that we put a plan together during that period to put those extreme vetting measures in place. Look, this is nothing new. President Trump talked about this throughout the campaign and the transition and he’s doing exactly what he told the American people he was going to do. It’s interesting, he’s — the criticism that’s coming is from someone who has gotten into office, hit the ground running, had a flurry of activity to do exactly what he said he was going to do, whether it was bringing back jobs, fighting for American taxpayers and cutting the cost and waste out of government programs or doing what he said overseas and protecting this nation. But he is not going to apologize for putting the safety of this country first and foremost.
(h/t RCP Video)
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