Steve Bannon selfie reveals his masterplans for White House policies

The list reveals White House priorities on immigration, health care and infastructure

Emily Shugerman
New York
Thursday 04 May 2017 10:36 BST
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A rabbi posing with Steve Bannon may have revealed the White House chief strategist's to-do list.

Mr Bannon posed for a photo with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach during the religious leader's visit to the White House on Israeli Independence Day. Posting the photograph on Twitter, the rabbi called Mr Bannon a “great, stalwart friend of the Jewish State”.

The post drew outcry from some followers, who took issue with Mr Bannon’s past of alleged anti-Semitic comments. Other commenters, however, were more focused on what was visible behind the two men: a white board list labelled “Pledges on Immigration.”

First up on the to-do list was a promise to “cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.” Mr Trump’s executive order doing just that was recently blocked by a federal judge.

The executive order, issued in January, makes it executive branch policy to “ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable federal law do not receive federal funds.” Cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration enforcement programs are frequently called “sanctuary cities.”

Mr Trump’s executive order was blocked by a federal judge on the grounds that it is overly broad.

Judge William Orrick ruled that federal funds unrelated to immigration enforcement cannot be withheld “merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”

The Justice Department attempted to argue that the order would not restrict all funds, but only those issued by the Justice Department and Homeland Security. The pledge on the whiteboard behind Mr Bannon, however, clearly says to “cancel all federal funding” to noncompliant cities.

Even before the order emerged, Mr Orrick felt he had enough evidence to suggest the order was unconstitutionally broad. The judge cited Mr Trump’s claim that the order is a “weapon” to be used against sanctuary cities, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ pledge to withhold grants from noncompliant cities.

"If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments," Mr Orrick wrote. A White House statement accused the judge of "putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens."

Further down on the whiteboard list is a pledge to “suspend immigration from all terror prone regions” – another of Mr Trump’s executive orders currently blocked by a federal judge. The list also mentions the construction of a Mexican border wall, which so far has received no funding from Congress.

Other pledges on the list include hiring 5,000 more border patrol agents and tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Mr Trump has signed executive orders directing the secretary of homeland security to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers and 5,000 additional border patrol agents.

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