Tags: Donald Trump | Exclusive Interviews | Immigration | Newsmax TV | Religion | Steve Malzberg Show | jon meacham

Jon Meacham: Religious Test for Immigration Is a 'Bad Idea'


By    |   Friday, 11 Dec 2015 05:04 PM

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham refuses to call Donald Trump a racist or compare him to Adolf Hitler for his provocative plan to indefinitely ban Muslims entering the United States – but tells Newsmax TV a religious test for immigration "is wrongheaded."

In an interview Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show," the executive vice president and executive editor of Random House – and author of "Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush"– said America has always emerged stronger from times of uncertainty and fear.

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"One of the great gifts of the United States of America to the world has been a tradition of religious liberty," Meacham said.

"We've always been stronger the wider we've opened our arms, and we've gone through periods where we have been under attack, we've been through periods where we are incredibly anxious about groups."

Pressed on whether Trump's plan was any different than President Jimmy Carter banning Iranians amid the hostage crisis in 1980, Meacham declared there must never be a religious-based ban.

"I think a religious test on immigration is a bad idea," he insisted.

But he declined to put a label on Trump for proposing the Muslim ban, saying "I haven't thought through enough to know whether to call Trump something."

In the wide-ranging interview, Meacham also said the 41st president considered raising taxes "an actual breach" of his famous 1988 pledge to "Read my lips: no new taxes."

"He regrets saying it," Meacham said, but ultimately "believed in the national interest."

"He was a moderate conservative in the mold of [President Dwight]  Eisenhower or [President Gerald] Ford in an age more defined by [Barry] Goldwater and [Ronald] Reagan and his own son, who was a movement guy, not a moderate guy," Meacham said.

Though Bush Sr.'s dim view of Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld got a lot of attention in Meacham's biography of the president, "what's gotten less attention, interestingly to me, is his criticism of his son for having rhetoric that was too hot," Meacham said.

"One of the things that struck me as I worked through those comments very carefully over a long time was actually, 41 and 43 were closer together on substance than I think even they knew...."

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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham refuses to call Donald Trump a racist or compare him to Adolf Hitler for his provocative plan to indefinitely ban Muslims entering the United States - but tells Newsmax TV a religious test for immigration "is wrongheaded."
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2015-04-11
Friday, 11 Dec 2015 05:04 PM
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