President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night that the United States needs a “travel ban” in order to protect Americans from “certain dangerous countries.”
“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!”, Trump tweeted.
He posted a series of tweets earlier, saying the Justice Department should have pushed forces initial order rather than the “watered down, politically correct version” that was submitted to the Supreme Court.
The administration is defending a new order designed to pass judicial muster, though courts have repeatedly rejected it. White House officials have not characterized the president’s executive order as a “travel ban”, but have rather described it as a “vetting system that aims to keep the nation safe”.
Trump ignored the legal problems that arise from the term “travel ban,” now using it five times on Twitter in about 24 hours, which also prompted a backlash from prominent Republican lawyers, Politico reports.
These attorneys are staging what amounts to an unprecedented public intervention against Trump, warning that his tweeting habit was doing serious harm to his bid to preserve his travel ban policy at the Supreme Court, and could be inflicting more widespread damage on his administration’s ability to carry out his agenda.
The most attention-grabbing reaction came from George Conway, who was under consideration until recently for a top post overseeing Justice Department civil litigation in the Trump administration.
“These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG [Justice’s Office of Solicitor General] get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad,” Conway, who is married to top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, wrote.
He later clarified that he remains a Trump supporter, but is not backing down from his criticism, insisting that lawyers currently in the administration agree with Trump.
A top Justice Department official under former President George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, unleashed a 17-entry Tweetstorm arguing that Trump’s ongoing attacks on his own lawyers and his apparent effort to disclaim responsibility for reissuing his “watered down” order are further eroding judicial deference for the executive branch, Politico writes.
“Given POTUS’s instability, it is not just courts that have reason to relax the presumption of regularity for this Prez. We all have reason to do so about everything the Executive branch does that touches, however lightly, the President….One thing DT behavior entails…is many losses in court and not just on the immigration EOs….Everything else Executive would normally win—reversing Clean Power Plan, terminating treaty, new regs, etc.—will be much, much harder”, wrote Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard Law School.
Supreme Court litigators said Trump’s tweets were particularly damaging because the Justice Department has argued that the revised order Trump issued in March should be treated as distinct from his first effort and from his campaign trail rhetoric calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the US.
The revised order Trump signed in March places a 90-day freeze on issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries and suspends refugee admissions from across the globe for 120 days, as part of what was billed as an attempt to ward off the threat of terrorism.