Early yesterday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted out: “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!”
This unexpected tweet, followed by more, comes on the heels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the May 25 decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to continue the hold on President Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0.
In response to the DOJ’s claims that the Muslim ban is actually about national security, the 4th Circuit’s opinion said that Trump’s second attempt at a Muslim ban “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
And now the president himself has bolstered the court’s ruling. In a subsequent tweet, Trump wrote that the “Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to [the Supreme Court].”
Trump’s description of the revised ban as the “politically correct version” is telling. It practically admits that his policy is driven by anti-Muslim animus and that the revisions that followed the first ban being blocked by the 9th Circuit were just for show. (And it’s not even the first time he’s complained that Muslim Ban 2.0 is a “watered down” version of his original ban.)
Trump is undermining his legal defense against the Muslim ban, one tweet at a time.
No less telling is that the Trump administration originally claimed that the ban was only to be in place as 90-day stopgap while the “vetting” of immigrants was revamped. But as the Washington Post reports, this time period has long since passed, and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers now say that a temporary travel ban is unnecessary.
Fortunately for all who could be affected by such a ban, Trump’s tweets could undercut his own cause. The Post also notes that “Federal judges across the country have focused acutely on Trump’s own comments in ordering the ban be frozen, determining that the president’s words expose the measure as being a tool for discrimination disguised as a national security directive.”
As AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said, “Regardless of how the government has tried to repackage it, this executive order is still the Muslim ban that the president promised.” Contrary to American values and the Constitution, Trump is aiming to exclude people from the United States based upon their religious beliefs.
AU has submitted legal briefs in multiple cases challenging the Muslim ban, including AU’s own lawsuit, UMAA v. Trump, which we filed with our allies Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. UMAA v. Trump challenges the Muslim ban and adds a humanizing perspective on how the ban affects the Muslim community.
As the Justice Department continues to dress up the Muslim ban as a national-security measure and Trump continues to undermine them, AU will continue to fight against the ban and against all religious discrimination. Religious freedom is a core American value. A threat to those who practice one faith is a threat to those who practice any other, or none at all.