Some of the most controversial proposals Donald Trump made while running for US president disappeared from his campaign website on Thursday, but a spokesperson said what some observers took as a softening of Trump’s policies was due to a technical glitch.
The link to Trump’s December 7 proposal titled, “Donald J. Trump statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration,” in which he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” vanished temporarily from the website but later reappeared.
So too did a list of Trump’s potential Supreme Court justice picks as president and certain details of his economic, defence and regulatory reform plans. “The website was temporarily redirecting all specific press release pages to the home page,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in an email.
Links to Trump’s policy proposals, including the Muslim ban, were working again by 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT). The links, which had redirected readers to a campaign fundraising page, appeared to have been removed around Election Day on Tuesday, when Trump won a historic upset against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to a website that records historic snapshots of web pages.
In an appearance on CNBC on Thursday, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal praised Trump for removing the Muslim ban proposal from his website and also said Trump had deleted statements offensive to Muslims from his Twitter account. The prince could not be reached for comment after the links were restored.
Several tweets attacking Muslims that Trump sent while campaigning for president remained in his feed on Thursday, including a March 22 tweet in which Trump wrote:
“Incompetent Hillary, despite the horrible attack in Brussels today, wants borders to be weak and open-and let the Muslims flow in. No way!”
After initially praising the removal of the Muslim ban proposal at a news conference with other civil rights leaders on Thursday, Samer Khalaf, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said in a follow-up interview the group was hoping to see better behaviour from Trump.
“False hope just came over us,” Khalaf said, but “we didn’t really think it was monumental that they took down the language.”
Khalaf said Trump’s policies were more important than any statements. “He’s elected, he said some horrible things, now we have to see what his policies are. If they’re good policies we’re going to commend him for it. If they’re horrible policies we’re going to challenge him on it.”
Despite the temporary glitch, most of Trump’s core policy positions had remained on his website, including his central immigration promise to build an “impenetrable physical wall” on the border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for its construction.
It was not the first time the Trump campaign blamed technical difficulties for changes to its website. The campaign this year also replaced the part of the site describing Trump’s healthcare policy with a different version. When contacted about it by a foreign news agency in September, the campaign put the original page back up.