By Melissa Fares
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called the attacks this week in Berlin and Ankara “terrible” on Wednesday and said he has been proven to be correct about his plans to impose curbs on Muslims immigrating to the United States.
“What’s going on is terrible, terrible,” Trump told reporters, when asked about the truck attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin and the killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey by a gunman in Ankara.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Berlin killings and the assassin in Turkey shouted about the war in Syria as he gunned down the envoy from Moscow, which has aided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebels in that country’s long civil war.
Trump was asked by reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, if Monday’s violence would affect his consideration of a ban on Muslims entering the United States or of a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
“You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. 100% correct. What’s happening is disgraceful,” Trump said on Wednesday.
At one point in his election campaign Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country as a means of fighting terrorism, drawing widespread criticism at home and abroad. He later rephrased this to propose temporarily suspending immigration from regions deemed as exporting terrorism and where safe vetting cannot be ensured.
On Monday, Trump immediately blamed the Berlin attack on Islamic State and other Islamist militants who “continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
Asked about his reference to Christians, the president-elect broadened his response on Wednesday, “It’s an attack on humanity, and it’s gotta be stopped.”
“What’s happening is disgraceful,” Trump said, adding that he has not talked to President Barack Obama since the Berlin and Ankara attacks.
Trump has been critical of Obama, and of his Democratic rival in the November presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for what he says is a reluctance to clearly name Islamist militancy as a threat.
Trump on Wednesday did receive a President’s Daily Brief, the most highly classified and closely held document in the government, his transition team said.
The real estate magnate and former reality TV star, who has publicly cast doubt on some conclusions of the intelligence community, is receiving the briefing about once a week, far fewer than most recent presidents-elect, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
(Reporting by Melissa Fares and Susan Heavey; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)