Donald Trump campaign has denied reports that the presumptive Republican nominee for US president is rolling back his controversial proposal banning Muslims from entering the United States.
“This is not accurate,” Hope Hicks, a spokesperson for the campaign, said on Monday. “There has been no change from the exchanges over the weekend.”
CNN initially reported that Trump was planning to modify his proposal for “a total and complete shutdown on Muslims” by applying the ban to countries with “known terrorism links.”
Trump’s national spokesperson Katrina Pierson seemed to agree with the reports while trying to put a positive spin on the signature policy proposal.
“I know the news media was reporting that the initial ban was against all Muslims, and that simply was not the case,” she said. “It’s only really a change if you never knew what the ban was to begin with.”
Trump appeared to be embracing the more nuanced version of the ban on Saturday.
“I want terrorists out. I want people that have bad thoughts out. I would limit specific terrorist countries and we know who those terrorist countries are,” he told reporters in Scotland.
The conflicting statements from Trump and his spokespersons have confused even some of his strongest supporters.
The billionaire businessman has never said he was wrong on his proposed ban of all Muslims, which was first announced last December and shocked the world.
Even if he is modifying the policy, counterterrorism experts raise questions about which countries would qualify and how their records on terrorism would be measured.
The flip-flopping on one of the most contentious aspects of the campaign comes as polls show Trump is falling behind his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Trump is currently facing a serious popularity problem, with nearly two-thirds of American voters saying he is unqualified to be president.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey released on Sunday showed that 64 percent of voters believe Trump is not fit to lead the country, while 37 percent said the same about Clinton.
In terms of overall support, Trump trails the former secretary of state 51 to 39 percent, snapping the race back to where it was in March.
Trump’s campaign has also fallen far short of Clinton’s in terms of fundraising. According to filings released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Clinton had $42.5 million in cash at the beginning of June, 32 times more than Trump’s $1.3 million cash reserve.