In tweets, Trump appears to undercut his own travel ban case
U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to undermine his administration’s legal case for a temporary travel ban, assailing the Justice Department on Monday for a revised version of the measure that he called “watered down” and “politically correct.”
In a series of early morning Twitter messages, Trump returned to the issue of the travel ban that he raised immediately after an attack in London on Saturday night that killed 7 people and wounded 48.
Trump has presented the measure, which seeks to halt entry to the United States for 90 days for people from several predominantly Muslim countries and bar refugees for four months, as essential to prevent attacks in the United States.
Critics say there is little national security justification for the move and the ban is discriminatory. They point to Trump’s promises during his 2016 election campaign for a ban on Muslims as signaling the order’s true intent.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original travel ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Trump tweeted on Monday, referring to the country’s highest court.
“The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down travel ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version!”
Federal courts struck down Trump’s first travel ban, which he issued as an executive order a week after he took office on Jan 20. To overcome the legal hurdles, he replaced it with a new order in March. The second ban was also put on hold by courts.
Legal experts said Trump’s tweets on Monday could complicate his legal team’s efforts to defend the ban. “The President’s tweets may help encourage his base, but they can’t help him in court,” said Jonathan Adler, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Trump’s legal team asked the Supreme Court last week to reverse rulings by lower courts and allow the revised travel ban to go into effect immediately.
At issue before the top court is whether the travel curbs violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination.
Trump’s lawyers will likely have to explain what he means by calling the second travel ban politically correct compared to the first, said Micah Schwartzman, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.