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‘Muslim Ban’: Rudy Giuliani Admits President Trump Sought Way to Legally Ban Muslims

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, seen here campaigning for Donald Trump in Phoenix, admitted Saturday that the president asked him to find a way to legally ban Muslims from the U.S. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative Commons)

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed on Saturday that President Donald Trump told him he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States but worried about how he could do so legally.

In an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who has been repeatedly accused of rampant Islamophobia, Giuliani recounted what he said was the “whole history” of Trump’s most controversial executive order.

“I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,'” Giuliani said of Trump. “He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’” Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City on September 11, 2001, said he then assembled a commission that included lawmakers and legal experts, “and what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us.”

“It’s not based on religion,” Giuliani insisted, ignoring the fact that by his own admission Trump asked him to find a way to ban Muslims without it seeming religion-based. “It’s based on places where there is substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

Last Friday, Trump, who described the move as “extreme vetting,” signed an executive order titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. The order implemented an immediate 90-day suspension of visas for citizens of select Muslim-majority nations, currently Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. More than 200 million people are now banned from entering the United States. US officials initially said even permanent legal residents — holders of so-called green cards — would be subjected to the ban, but the White House later walked back an earlier statement.

Despite Giuliani’s assertion that the ban is “based on places where there is substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists” into America, there have been no fatal terrorist attacks on US soil by people from the banned nations — all of which have been bombed by the United States. In contrast, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 Americans were from Saudi Arabia, which is not on the ban list. The other four were from the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon, none of which were included on the list of banned countries.

Pirro asked Giuliani about this during her interview. “I was kind of surprised to see that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are not on the list,” she said. “Why were some of those countries left out?”

“Saudi Arabia is going through a massive change,” Giuliani replied. “It is not the old Saudi Arabia of 2001, 2002. President Trump is dealing with a very different Saudi Arabia than President Obama was dealing with… Pakistan I would need to know more about; it troubles me like it troubles you.”

Claims by Trump and supporters including Giuliani that the president’s ban is not religion-based were met with great skepticism by critics who pointed out that the executive order states the administration will “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” In an interview with Christian Broadcast Network, Trump admitted he wants to prioritize aiding Christian refugees while blocking Muslims.

“Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States?” the president asked. “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair.”

Numerous federal judges issued emergency stays temporarily blocking the removal of refugees, immigrants and travelers detained at airports across America following Trump’s order. However, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at airports including Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia openly defied the order and continued detaining arriving passengers from the seven banned nations.

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