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President Trump on Sunday disputed the characterizations that his so-called “extreme vetting” executive order is a “Muslim ban.”

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

Said Trump: “There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”

In 2015 during the presidential race, his campaign released a statement that said: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

On Friday, Trump announced an executive order that temporarily restricts immigration from “countries of particular concern,” including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days.

Defending his action, Trump said: “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.”

The order also suspended the flow of Syrian refugees into the country.

“I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria,” Trump said. “My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as president I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”

Trump added: “America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say.”

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