Donald Trump insists travel ban was written 'perfectly' and accuses federal judges of being motivated by politics

‘I watched [the court’s arguments for and against] last night with amazement and I heard things that I couldn’t believe,’ says the US President

Rachael Revesz
New York
Wednesday 08 February 2017 23:41 GMT
Donald Trump has vowed to fight the court ruling against his travel ban
Donald Trump has vowed to fight the court ruling against his travel ban (Getty)

Donald Trump has insisted that the “Muslim ban” was written “perfectly” and the federal judges who opposed it were motivated by politics.

Yet his executive order is facing a court battle that could last all the way to the Supreme Court.

Signed on 27 January, the order banned nearly all travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries and prompted widespread protests. It was temporarily halted after eight days by federal judge James Robart in Seattle.

In August of 2017, Donald Trump decried the courts' role in the travel ban

Mr Trump read out the wording of the executive order to the National Sheriffs’ Association on Wednesday morning, saying that it was written clearly and that even a “bad high school student” could understand it.

“I watched [the judges’ arguments for and against] last night with amazement and I heard things that I couldn’t believe,” said Mr Trump, referring to the hearing at the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

“Things that really have nothing to do with what I just read. I don’t want to call the courts biased.

“But courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what’s right. And that has to do with the security of our country.”

The President was angry that his emergency appeal to overturn Judge James Robart’s ruling was denied.

“A bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this.”

“It’s as plain as you can have it,” he added.

“I was a good student. I understand things. I comprehend very well, better than I think almost anybody,” he said.

He argued the order was “correct, not politically correct”, and it was important to stop an influx of people who want to “do harm” to the US.

“It couldn’t have been written any more precisely,” said the President. “It’s not like, ‘oh gee, we wish it was written better’. It was written beautifully.”

Lawyers are using Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric against him

Regardless of the appeal court’s ruling, a decision is expected within days and the case will likely end up in the US’s highest court.

White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted the executive order was executed lawfully and it had been signed off by the Justice Department. The order prompted about 60,000 visas to be revoked, which were then reinstated a week later following the court order in Washington state. Airports were instructed to act as if Mr Trump’s executive order had never existed.

Mr Spicer avoided questions on why the President had called Judge Robart’s ruling “outrageous”.

“If at some point this President does not have the power as given to him in law to protect this country I think this really questions the slippery slope we’re on,” said Mr Spicer.

When questioned on what constituted the “real" threat to the US regarding terrorism, his answer was vague.

“He [the President] wants to make sure we understand the threat and it is his job to do everything he can to protect the nation and the country,” he replied.

“While we may not face an imminent threat today, we don’t know when that next threat comes. Is it next week, next month or next year?”

A study by the Cato Institute think tank found that no Syrian refugee had even been charged with the intent of carrying out a terrorist attack on US soil in more than four decades, and only 17 people from the six other countries had been charged with such an intent. No one died as a result of a terrorist attack plotted or carried out by anyone from the seven nations in 41 years.

John Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, testified this week that the roll-out of the ban should have been “paused just a bit” to allow his department to inform Congress.

“This is all on me, by the way,” he added, to a Senate committee.

Mr Kelly and his staff reportedly made small changes to the order but were overruled by Mr Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who pushed for the order to cover visa and green card holders.

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