WH: Trump still opposed to elephant trophies despite new policy

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'No doubt' US shot down Iranian drone Rush Limbaugh on 'send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'Much ado about nothing' Julián Castro calls on Puerto Rico governor to resign MORE remains opposed to elephant trophy hunting despite his administration's decision to allow some trophy imports on a "case-by-case basis," the White House said on Wednesday.

“President Trump’s position on trophy hunting remains the same," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

In an interview with Piers Morgan on ITV that aired in January, Trump said his administration’s decision to overturn former President Obama’s ban on importing elephant parts from two African nations “terrible.”

He tweeted in November that elephant trophy hunting is a “horror show,” and said he doubted the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) determination that trophy hunting helps conserve healthy elephant populations.

But last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly announced it would weigh big-game trophy permits on a "case-by-case basis," and repeal all previous species- or country-wide policies.

Sanders said the FWS policy was "a response to a court decision impacting how trophy import applications are reviewed.” That decision, in December, said previous trophy policies did not follow the proper process, which should have included public notice and comment.

Sanders would not say Wednesday whether Trump wants his administration to further curtail trophy imports. “The president’s been clear what his position is and that has not changed,” she said.

The Trump administration’s new policy is a win for hunters, who now have the chance to import trophies from various countries that were previously banned.

But conservationists say that Trump's previous statements amount to a promise to completely ban trophy imports from some countries, and that the new policy falls far short of that.

Updated: 4:13 p.m.