Courtesy New York Times
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump seemed to suggest on Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin vindicated his proposal during the presidential campaign to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
“You know my plans,” Mr. Trump said to reporters who asked whether the attack on Monday, in which a Tunisian is being sought, would cause him to re-evaluate his proposals to create a Muslim registry or to stop Muslim immigration to the United States. “All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct.”
It was not clear whether Mr. Trump was reaffirming his much-criticized call for a wholesale ban on Muslim immigration or his subsequent clarification that he would stop only those entering from countries with a history of Islamic extremism. As with many of his pronouncements since his election last month, the remarks, delivered on the blustery front steps of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, were cryptic and left room for broad interpretation.
But hours later, one of his advisers said he was only restating his most recent position.
“President-elect Trump has been clear that we will suspend admission of those from countries with high terrorism rates and apply a strict vetting procedure for those seeking entry in order to protect American lives,” said Jason Miller, the communications director for the transition. “This might upset those with their heads stuck in the politically correct sand, but nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”
It was the latest confusing turn in Mr. Trump’s positions on major issues since the election. In Twitter posts and comments over the last week, he has pledged to create “safe zones” in Syria, paid for by Persian Gulf nations; accused China of an “unprecedented act” in seizing a Navy underwater drone in the South China Sea; and then, after the Pentagon and China negotiated the drone’s return, suggested that the United States should “let them keep it!”
The series of scattershot remarks has further unsettled a turbulent period in American foreign policy. It underscores Mr. Trump’s challenge in fashioning a coherent approach to the problems he will inherit in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, especially working with a team that consists of retired generals and an oil executive, few of whom have experience in the daily cascade of crises that confront every White House.
“We know he’s got some instincts and predilections, but there is no coherent Trump foreign-policy doctrine, and we’re not likely to see one,” said Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University who worked for President George W. Bush and has been a vocal critic of Mr. Trump.
“They’re in the fun phase now,” Mr. Cohen added, “but they’re in for a whole bunch of rude awakenings.”
One area where Mr. Trump and his advisers have been unswerving is their repeated denunciation of “radical Islamic terrorism.”
For More News Update Click Here