Asked the following day again whether he supported a Muslim database, Trump was again oblique: “There should be a lot of systems — beyond databases. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.” Trump then began talking about a border wall.

 

Leaning in

The MSNBC reporter followed up: “But that’s something your White House would like to implement?”

Trump responded: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.

It wasn’t clear whether the “that” he was referring to was a database or “a lot of systems” or a border wall. But the reporter then asked how he would register people, and Trump’s responses suggested that he supported a database.

“It would just be good management,” he said. When asked whether they would be required to register, he responded: “They have to be — they have to be. Let me just tell you: The key is people can come to the country, but they have to come legally.”

Trump disputes it — somewhat

Later that same day, Trump disputed the reports saying he had endorsed a Muslim database, but he still didn’t say he disagreed with it.

Still later that day, though, Trump again left open the possibility. Asked on Fox News Channel whether he would support a “full Muslim database,” he said, “Basically the suggestion was made and [is] certainly something we should start thinking about. … But certainly I would want to have a database for the refugees — for the Syrian refugees that are coming in, because nobody knows where they’re coming from.”

The database is ‘all right’ and ‘okay’

The following day in Alabama, Trump seemed to lean in more toward some kind of a database, saying it would be “all right” and “okay” but again quibbled with the idea that it was a big deal.

“So the database — I said yeah, that’s all right, fine,” he said. “But they also said the wall, and I said the wall, and I was referring to the wall. But database is okay, and watch list is okay, and surveillance is okay. … And the biggest story yesterday — the biggest — was ‘Trump wants database on Muslims.’ I said, ‘What’s all happening here?’ ”

 

A day later, Trump again left open the possibility. Asked by ABC News if he would rule out a database on all Muslims, he said no, but then shifted to talking about a database just of refugees.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I want a database for the refugees that — if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse.

 

“And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases. And we have no choice.”

The issue was soon overshadowed by Trump’s proposal in December to ban all Muslim immigration — which he may or may not have walked back since then. And in an anti-terrorism speech in June, he made no mention of a database or registry.

But judging from these comments, it’s little surprise that the Trump transition team is looking at some kind of database involving Muslims or Muslim countries. The real question from here is how far they take the idea.