President Trump sent out several tweets on Monday, referring to the revised travel ban as the “watered down” version of his executive orders on immigration.
Trump’s assertion about the revised ban—which temporarily restricts travel to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries, could derail his administration’s legal argument that the executive order did not target Muslims.
As an unfiltered candidate, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the United States, despite Justice Department lawyers going to extreme measures to avoid calling it a “travel ban” in court, referring to it as a “temporary pause.”
Considerations to his tweets did not appear to signal Trump on how his own words could subvert his legal case in court. Despite his administration stating semantics should not matter, the court rulings to uphold the decision to block the ban resulted in Trump’s words used against him in last month’s ruling.
In one tweet, Trump described the new ban as “politically correct,” even though he signed the executive order replacing the first ban with a revised version targeting six, rather than seven, Muslim-majority countries. The ban also blocked the issuance of new visas, rather than revoking current ones.
The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Criticizing his administration, Trump tweeted that the Justice Department should seek a “much tougher version” of the travel ban.
He was emphatic about the need for a travel ban, thus making it extremely clear — despite press secretary’s Sean Spicer’s past remarks to the contrary — that the executive order was not a ban, a pause on various sources of immigration—or an extreme vetting system.
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump tweeted.
People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
During Monday afternoon’s White House briefing, Deputy Director Sarah Huckabee Sanders said everyone wants to get into labels and semantics, but the bottom line is—Trump is only defending the country, and he “absolutely” supports the current version of the executive order.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing on May 10, 2017. Photo Credit: (Getty)
President Trump’s tweets could put his administration’s effort to restore the ban, which is currently on hold by two federal courts in jeopardy. Arguments on the matter are set for filing with the Supreme Court on next week. Trump’s latest Twitter tirade will likely become an intricate part of the opposing challenger’s briefs.
Trump’s administration appealed to the nation’s highest court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the freeze on the ban last month.
Neal Katyal, the lawyer who argued for the challengers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, wrote on Twitter,
“It’s kinda odd to have the defendant in Hawaii v Trump acting as our co-counsel. We don’t need the help but will take it!” He tweeted that he was “waiting now for the inevitable cover-my-tweet posts from him that the Solicitor General will no doubt insist upon.”
Its kinda odd to have the defendant in HawaiivTrump acting as our co-counsel.We don't need the help but will take it! pic.twitter.com/8ehqkLkOY2
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) June 5, 2017
George Conway, D.C. lawyer and husband of White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway posted on Twitter that the remarks might hurt the legal case. George Conway was once a top candidate for the Trump administration’s solicitor general. Expressing concern in his tweet he wrote:
“These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad,” he wrote, using abbreviations for Office of Solicitor General and the Supreme Court.
These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won't help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad. https://t.co/zVhcyfm8Hr
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) June 5, 2017
Regarding his promise for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. The judges ruled that President Trump’s words expose the measure as a tool for discrimination disguised as a national security directive.
The majority opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruling on the freeze on the travel ban quoted extensively from Trump’s media interviews and tweets. The judges, in their ruling also took into consideration comments and interviews made by Trump’s advisers.
ACLU lawyer, Omar C. Jadwat who argued the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, wrote that Trump’s tweets amounted to “a promise” let me do this, and I’ll take it as license to do even worse.” In an interview, Jadwat said the president’s tweets “seem to undermine the picture the government’s been trying to paint.”
“I can’t say for sure what our brief is going to look like, but this stuff seems relevant,” Jadwat said.
In another tweet, Jadwat wrote: “If we just wait long enough, will he tweet out a whole brief for us?”
If we just wait long enough, will he tweet out a whole brief for us? https://t.co/9Aqzn4h3mC
— Omar C. Jadwat (@OmarJadwat) June 5, 2017
The ACLU Nationwide did not hesitate to respond to President Trumps Monday morning tweets. The agency took to social media stating,
“Trump doubled down on his assertion that the ban is a ban, and reiterated that Muslim Ban 2.0 is just a “watered down, politically correct version” of the original Muslim ban.”
Trump sent out another Tweet about the travel ban at 8:20 p.m. (EDT), he wrote:
“That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!”
That's right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won't help us protect our people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
Trump’s latest tweets could provide lawyers challenging the ban with more definitive examples of how his post-election remarks align with his current views. His tweets could also present a stronger argument to assert that Trump’s revised travel ban had the same intent or purpose as the travel ban’s original version.