Washington (CNN)Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continued Friday to define his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, saying he wants to study the issue of radical Islam and that he was “flexible” in his response.
“We have to do something and you’re not going to do something about until you know what the problem is. I’ve spoken to (former New York City mayor) Rudy Giuliani we’re going to put together a group. We’re going to look at the problem, we’re going to study the problem, it’s a temporary ban,” Trump said Friday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “I feel very strongly that we have to find out what the problem is. When you look at San Bernardino, when you look at Paris, when you look at all of these horrible, horrible acts of hatred, this is pure hatred. We have to find out and get to the bottom of the problem before we can solve it.”
Trump called in December “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” he said in a statement. But he revised his language Wednesday to Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, saying that his proposed ban was “just a suggestion” and “hasn’t been called for yet.”
But he argued Friday that he wasn’t changing his tone at all.
“Look, anything I say right now — I’m not the president, everything is a suggestion. No matter what you say, it is a suggestion,” Trump said Friday on NBC’s “Today,” adding later, “No, I’m not softening my stance at all but I’m always flexible on issues.”
Trump’s apparently softened position comes after months of being hammered on the issue consistently by his Republican and Democratic opponents. What changed is that he is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been mentioned a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton, went after Trump for his proposed Muslim ban and other policies in a tweetstorm this week.
“.@realDonaldTrump: Your policies are dangerous. Your words are reckless. Your record is embarrassing. And your free ride is over,” Warren tweeted Wednesday.
Trump has long said that his proposed ban on Muslim entry to the United States would be temporary, but has never said how long that would last. He told Fox News Friday that Giuliani’s review of Muslim entry into the U.S. would be part of a broader review of immigration by a prospective Trump administration.
He did not say Friday who else would serve on the broader immigration review group.
Trump’s Muslim ban came after tens of thousands of Syrians fled their homeland, leading to a immigration crisis in Europe. President Barack Obama pledged to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees, but as of last month the U.S. had only admitted about 1,300 refugees.