White House defends Trump travel ban

The White House defended President Trump's travel ban less than an hour after a federal appeals court refused to lift a decision that has so far blocked the ban's implementation. 

Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday that the administration is "currently reviewing" the opinion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that found Trump's proposal to temporarily ban immigration from six majority-Muslim countries unconstitutional and expressed confidence the president would ultimately be vindicated. 

"I think we can all attest that these are very dangerous times and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence," he said during Monday's press briefing. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"We continue to be confident that the president's executive order to protect our country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld at the Supreme Court."

The ruling specifically pointed to Trump's tweets from earlier this month, when he called for the need for a "TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries" and chided those who were too politically correct to label it a "travel ban." He went on to call the new draft, formulated in response to another court challenge, "watered down" and argued the Justice Department should rely on the old language, which included Iraq on the list of countries affected, a complete ban on Syrian refugee immigration and language prioritizing religious refugees. 

Those tweets have prompted criticism, as some argue that they tie the policy too closely to Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigration, an argument the court made while citing one of Trump's tweets. 

"The President recently confirmed his assessment that it is the 'countries' that are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries who are barred from entry under the President's 'travel ban,'" the 9th Circuit wrote.

And framing the new draft as "watered down" undercuts his administration's legal argument that the changes are substantive enough to square the policy with the law and earlier court decision. 

But when asked whether Trump is putting his agenda in danger with his tweets, Spicer argued the cases shouldn't focus on his tweets. 

"Cases should be decided on the rule of law and when you look at what the law is in the U.S. Code that allows the president to do whatever he needs to, that's what we are deciding on," he said. 

"Frankly, I think any lawyer worth their salt 100 percent agrees that the president is fully within his rights and responsibilities to do what is right to protect the country."