Fire and Fury: New Donald Trump book claims Steve Bannon calculated the Muslim ban to enrage people

The timing maximised the number of people affected, and the number of protestors on the streets

Andrew Griffin
Friday 05 January 2018 13:42
The most explosive claims from a new book about Trump's white house

Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban' was specifically calculated to upset people, according to a shocking new book.

The President's advisor Steve Bannon purposefully published the controversial order on a Friday so that it would cause the maximum possible disruption, according to the new Fire and Fury book detailing journalist Michael Wolff's time in the White House.

The immigration order, which excluded people from a range of Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, was signed just a week into Mr Trump's presidency. It was intended as a way of implementing his promise to shut down Muslim immigration because of the then presidential candidate's claim that it was contributing to terror attacks.

But the new book suggests that it was specifically decided it would be signed on a Friday so that it would cause the most possible disruption at airports. The order was hastily signed in such a way that it even affected people who were flying into the country – who were then detained as they arrived, with little clarity on what would happen to them, on one of the most popular days for travelling.

Signing the order late before the weekend also meant that there would be the maximum number of people available to come and protest. Immediately after the order went into affect, activists flooded airports including New York's JFK, in scenes that would become defining of Trump's early presidency.

That was specifically calculated by Mr Bannon, the book suggests. Amid that fallout, people both within and outside the White House asked why he had decided to have the order signed at a time that increased confusion within airports, the government and the US at large.

"Errr ... that's why," Mr Wolff reports him as saying. "So the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot." Mr Wolff says it was designed as a way to "crush the liberals" by "mak[ing] them crazy and drag[ging] them to the left".

Doing so also helped Mr Bannon divide the US into two Americas – Trump's and liberals' – Mr Wolff writes. And it also helped make clear the distinction between his White House and those who were not yet committed to his vision to "burn the place down".

It also suggests that the wording of the order – which has since been successfully challenged in court – was written in a rush by Mr Bannon and other Trump advisors. Stephen Miller was encouraged to research the ban on the internet so that Mr Bannon could arrive at the White House with a "back-of-the-envelope" draft of the travel ban, the book claims.

The order was slightly diluted, partly because of urging from senior Republic Reince Preibus. That took it down to something that would be perceived as "merely Draconian", the book notes.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments