A press release touting Donald Trump’s controversial plan to ban all Muslim travel into the United States was removed from his campaign website Monday, shortly after White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that he was unaware that the plan was still online.
Then-candidate Trump issued a statement calling for the “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States until the government could “figure out what is going on,” in response to a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by ISIS sympathizers in December 2015.
Trump later read the plan at a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, rally before his supporters.
“We have no choice. We have no choice,” Trump said. “We have no choice.”
Since stepping into office, though, Trump and his top aides have tried to distance themselves from the exact language of the plan, which has been used against the administration’s attempt to suspend travel to seven — then six — Muslim-majority countries and suspend the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States.
US District Court Judge Theodore Chuang said in March, despite the Trump administration’s comments about the order not being a Muslim ban, but rather a travel ban, he found “the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the second executive order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”
The Muslim-ban language remained online until Monday afternoon, when they were scrubbed from the website shortly after Spicer was pressed on why the plan was still on the President’s campaign website.
“You’d have to ask them. I know how we talked about this from the first day of this administration as a travel ban,” not a Muslim ban, Spicer said. “You’re supposed to make sure that people who are coming here are coming in here with the right motives and reasons, and that we’re having a public safety aspect to making sure that we’re protecting our people.”
He added: “We’ve been very consistent since the first day of this administration on this.”
An administration spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether anyone from the White House asked that the language come down. A Trump campaign spokesperson did not respond to questions about the website.
The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the travel ban case Monday afternoon shortly after the language was removed.