As is the case with every Trump firestorm, the 'Muslim database' kerfuffle has already been supplanted by several new controversies. Nevertheless, a core question from last week's flare-up has remained unresolved: Was Trump open to a national registry for all Muslims in America, or just the refugees? The campaign's ambiguity on this point spilled over into this week's news cycle, when Trump again appeared to endorse the concept of a broader database on ABC's Sunday morning chat show. The trouble is that whenever Trump has been asked about this issue, he's responded by (a) correctly noting that it was originally raised as a non-sequitur by a reporter, and (b) answering the question as if it only pertained to refugees and border security issues. Last night on Charles Payne's Fox Business Network program, I had the opportunity to put a very specifically-crafted question to Trump national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. At last, it seems, we have some clarity (skip ahead to the 1:10 mark):
GB: Katrina, if I may, just the one thing that I'm still trying to pin down a little bit here is: Setting aside the fact that a reporter sort of brought this issue up out of nowhere, and setting aside the issues of the refugees and the border, has Donald Trump ruled out the registry for other Muslims in America -- including citizens -- or is that still on the table? Can you help me with that?
KP: Sure, I'd love to help you out, Guy. He's never said he supported for all Muslim Americans. He does support a registry of refugees. And the reason why this is so confusing is because NBC [News] actually put out the video that was cropped to fit their narrative. And a lot of conservatives, just like Rush Limbaugh said, fell for it.
GB: So he's against -- to be clear -- he's against a registry for all Muslims?
KP: For all Muslims? Yes. Only for the refugees.
I'd argue that the cause of the continued confusion over all of this goes well beyond NBC's allegedly misleading editing, but that's a separate point. It took roughly six days, but we finally have a definitive answer on this question. And it's the only acceptable answer, by the way, which is why I wouldn't mind hearing it reiterated by the candidate himself. Incidentally, Pierson's answer makes this new Nazi-imagery-invoking ad from a pro-Kasich superPAC seem even more demagogic:
Trump frequently says odious things, but going Full Godwin on him is wildly over the top. If these Kasich people think they'll hurt the Donald with that video, they're dreaming. Also, in almost all cases, accusations of "dangerous rhetoric" smack of End of Discussion bullying, even if the target is a bully.