Trump promises to reinstate controversial Muslim travel ban

Trump had imposed discriminatory travel bans on several Muslim countries in 2017. (Photo/AFP)

Donald Trump has used a speech at a Republican Jewish convention to promise the reimposition of a controversial travel ban that targeted a slew of mostly Muslim countries if he gets re-elected.

"We will keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country," Trump said on Saturday.

"You remember the travel ban? On day one I will restore our travel ban," he told the audience attending the annual summit of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The former US leader was among several Republicans lining up at the gathering of influential Jewish donors to pledge unwavering support for Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Trump told the event, held in Las Vegas, in the southwestern state of Nevada, that he would "defend our friend and ally in the State of Israel like nobody has ever."

'Muslim ban'

At the start of his presidency in 2017, Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on the entry of travellers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and, initially, Iraq and Sudan.

The order was quickly challenged in court as discriminatory against a religious group, but the bans, along with Trump's hard-line anti-immigration agenda, were popular with his base.

President Joe Biden reversed the ban in his first week in office in 2021.

Broader 'definition of anti-Semitism'

The only woman in the race, Nikki Haley, Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, has evoked fears of anti-Semitic attacks on US soil.

"As president, I will change the official federal definition of anti-Semitism to include denying Israel's right to exist," said Haley, adding she would strip tax breaks from schools that do not combat anti-Semitism.

Former Vice President Mike Pence surprised the gathering Saturday when he announced he was dropping out of the 2024 presidential race, becoming the first major candidate to suspend his campaign.

"It's become clear to me: this is not my time," he said. "After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president."

Support for Israel is a huge issue for both political parties in the United States, and a rare instance of foreign policy that matters at the ballot box, thanks in part to the large number of Jewish voters.


Source: TRT