Donald Trump is at it again, pulling all sorts of rabbits from his hat in an attempt to strengthen his electoral campaign. In a rally on Monday in the district of New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump promised to bring back travel bans and implement “ideological screenings” of immigrants if elected again to the White House.
To a cheering crowd, he pledged “On Day One, I will immediately restore and expand the ‘Trump travel ban’” He interrupted his prepared remarks for a riff about how his opponents tried to stop his ban in the courts, which they did successfully to an extent. Then he continued: He would also “halt all of the refugee settlements to the United States.”
“They want to come and they want to bring – the same people that are shooting rockets at Israel, they want to come into the United States,” Trump said. “I don’t think a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Mr Trump added, “I will implement strong ideological screening of all immigrants,” he said, reading from the teleprompter. “If you hate America, if you want to abolish Israel,” he continued, apparently ad-libbing, “if you don’t like our religion – which a lot of them don’t – if you sympathize with the jihadists, then we don’t want you in our country and you are not getting in. Right?”
The crowd cheered enthusiastically. Trump vamped: “We don’t want you! Get out of here! You’re fired!”
In his tenure as President, many of Trump’s immigration policies faced legal challenges, with his latest proposals likely to encounter similar opposition. For instance, Trump’s ban on immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries was initially rejected by lower courts but was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. President Biden repealed this ban upon taking office.
During a recent event, Trump announced his intention to impose a ban on immigrants from Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and any other countries deemed to threaten U.S. security. He also recited a poem likening immigrants to dangerous snakes.
It’s important to note that Iowa holds one of the earliest Republican presidential nominating contests, and Trump is the frontrunner for his party’s nomination in the 2024 presidential election. His stance on immigration has been a key element of his first term as President.
Trump emphasized his commitment to tightening U.S. immigration laws, disqualifying those who seek to abolish the state of Israel, support Hamas or its ideology, or align with communist, Marxist, or fascist beliefs. This represents a stringent approach not shared by most of his Republican rivals.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a contender for the Republican nomination, expressed support for deporting foreign students who endorse Hamas and for barring Gaza refugees from entering the U.S. if he becomes President.
It’s worth mentioning that the United States, along with several other nations, has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. Additionally, Trump had criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his response to Hamas attacks and commended the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, as “very smart.” In his recent remarks in Iowa, Trump reiterated his commitment to deport “resident aliens with jihadist sympathies”
Donald Trump’s religious beliefs have often been a subject of scrutiny. While he claimed the Bible was his favorite book when launching his 2016 Republican nomination campaign, he struggled to demonstrate a deep familiarity with it or identify a favorite passage. As President, he infrequently attended church, with one notable exception in June 2020 when he posed outside St. John’s Episcopal Church holding a Bible in front of Lafayette Square.
Trump’s connection with religion primarily revolves around recognizing its significance as a motivating factor for many Americans, especially those who support him politically. During a speech in Iowa in January 2016, he expressed concern about the perceived challenges Christianity was facing and vowed to be a champion for the religious right during his time in office, a promise he largely upheld.
Trump in his rally said and pledged, once again, that he will serve as a backstop against an erosion of power felt by a subset of Americans. He is telling those Americans – White Christian conservatives – that he will make them the focus of America’s protective power. The crowd supported this idea enthusiastically.