(USA Today) President Trump denies he is about to authorize a ban on Muslim migration, saying he plans only restrictions on entry from countries with a history of terrorism.
"It's countries that have tremendous terror," Trump told ABC News in his first television interview as president. "And it's countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems."
The Trump team is poised to suspend refugee and visa programs as applied to many Muslim countries in the Middle East, including war-torn Syria.
The orders could come as early as Thursday (Jan. 26). Critics of the imminent orders said they will block law-abiding Muslims trying to escape the very kind of violence Trump is talking about.
Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called it a "de facto" ban on Muslims.
"The United States has long prided itself as a safe bastion for refugees around the globe facing persecution and strife," Moline said. "President Trump is poised to trample upon that great legacy in one of his first major acts in office."
Trump told ABC News his target is the Islamic State group and other extremists: "You're looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don't want that."
Some people could get in, Trump suggested, but only after what he called "extreme vetting."
"We're going to have extreme vetting in all cases," he told ABC. "And I mean extreme."