WASHINGTON — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Friday he agrees with Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from countries with heavy terrorist activity from entering the U.S., a reversal from criticism he levied against the real estate mogul months ago.
When Trump first called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” back in December, Pence said the proposal was “offensive and unconstitutional.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Pence about the issue during an interview that aired Friday night.
“I am very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States,” Pence responded.
Pence added, “What I’ve heard from Donald Trump, and I believe the position he’s articulated that resonates with millions of Americans, is that we’ve got to find out what’s going on, and we’ve got to do something different, and we’ve got to put the safety and security of the American people first.”
Pence was not asked about whether he believed all Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S., as Trump originally proposed in December. Last month, Trump softened his position on the ban, saying the policy wouldn’t apply to Muslims from countries not typically associated with terrorism.
“It wouldn’t bother me, it wouldn’t bother me,” Trump said in Scotland when asked whether he would allow a Scottish Muslim into the U.S. under his policy.
His campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, then told CNN that Trump does not support banning all foreign Muslims from entering the U.S. but instead would ban Muslims from “terror states” — though he did not specify which states he believed supported terror.
“There’s no question it’s the right view,” Pence said Friday.
Pence also said he “absolutely” supported building a wall on the southern border and that “absolutely” Mexico would pay for it. He was also asked to defend his vote for the war in Iraq, a conflict that Trump has repeatedly said he opposed from the beginning and has cited to question presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy judgment.
“Reasonable people can disagree about whether we should have gone into Iraq,” he said. Pressed if it was the right decision, Pence declined to answer: “I think that’s for historians to debate.”
Hannity also asked Pence about his prior support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive 12-nation Asian trade agreement that Trump has regularly railed against.
“I think when we elect one of the best negotiators in the world as president of the United States, I’m open to renegotiating these trade agreements,” Pence said.