Trump's Chief of Staff: New Administration Will Bar Immigration From Countries Supporting Terror

Reince Priebus says Trump administration won't 'blanketly judge' all Muslims, but will try to 'pinpoint problems.'

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, raises a gavel as he calls the Republican National Convention to order in Tampa, Florida, U.S., August 27, 2012.
Daniel Acker, Bloomberg

The incoming Trump administration will bar citizens of countries suspected of harboring terrorists from immigrating to the United States, White House chief of staff appointee Reince Priebus told CNN in an interview on Sunday.

"We’re going to temporarily suspend immigration from [countries where terrorism might be festering] until a better vetting system is put in place," Priebus said.

Priebus supported the statement by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, president-elect Donald Trump's appointee as national security adviser, that a fear of Muslims is rational.

“There are some people within that particular religion that we do fear,” Priebus said. “We don’t believe in religious tests and ... are not blanketly judging an entire religion, but, in fact, we will try to pinpoint the problems."

He also reiterated Trump’s threat to halt federal funding for cities in which police departments don’t actively enforce some federal immigration policies, a practice that has been in place for decades.

“This is a matter of negotiation,” he said.

“I can’t imagine that too many Americans are watching this and thinking that it’s a good idea for a city to allow for blanket amnesty, ignoring federal law — and then saying now give me $500 million," he added, referring to Los Angeles.

In a separate interview with ABC, Priebus declined to say whether the new administration would investigate losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as Trump indicated he would do during the campaign.

Trump will do everything he can to follow through on his campaign promises "but also protect our country here and abroad,” Priebus said.