On Monday, Mr. Trump appeared to do so again. Told by a reporter that “the lawyers for the opponents said that if you would simply apologize for some of your rhetoric during the campaign, the whole case would go away,” Mr. Trump was skeptical and unrepentant.
“I don’t think it would, No. 1,” he said. “And there’s no reason to apologize. Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. They’re laughed at all over the world — they’re laughed at for their stupidity, and we have to have strong immigration laws. So I think if I apologize, it wouldn’t make 10 cents’ worth of difference to them. There’s nothing to apologize for.”
At the argument, Mr. Francisco’s reference to a Sept. 25 statement from Mr. Trump confused many observers. That was the day after Mr. Trump issued his latest travel ban, and such a statement would have shed timely light on what he had intended it to accomplish. But Mr. Francisco misspoke. He had meant to refer to an interview Mr. Trump gave on Jan. 25, 2017, not long before he issued his original travel ban, the first of three.
“It’s not the Muslim ban,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “But it’s countries that have tremendous terror.”
Critics of the administration said the interview was not the “crystal clear” statement Mr. Francisco had described.
Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote on Take Care, a legal blog, that the interview included no disavowal of or apology for Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge to impose a “Muslim ban.”