WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, with his second round of heated tweets since the London terror attacks, on Monday renewed his argument that a travel ban is in the interest of the United States’ national security.
But he appeared to criticize his Department of Justice for defending a “watered down, politically correct version” that he had signed.
He also continued calling the measure a ban, despite his aides resisting the description amid legal challenges.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Trump posted. “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!”
Later Monday night, he tweeted: “Thats right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!”
He was doubling down on statements he made Sunday, when he defended the need for the ban before offering condolences and support to the people of London and the United Kingdom.
He again disparaged the response of London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the deadly attack, calling it a “pathetic excuse.”
Trump’s temporary restrictions on the entry of nationals of six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from across the globe have been thus far stymied in courts. They were ruled unconstitutional and discriminatory in the context of past statements he and his team made about Islam and terrorism.
Trump’s newest tweets may hurt his case in court, according to George Conway, former solicitor general candidate and husband of White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and also to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged both iterations of the ban.
“Yes, we may incorporate @realDonaldTrump’s tweets about the ban into our Supreme Court argument,” the ACLU posted.
Conway wrote that he supports Trump but believes “tweets on legal matters seriously undermine Admin agenda and POTUS.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s Justice Department has asked for an expedited hearing from the Supreme Court.
“He wants to go as far and strong as possible under the Constitution to protect the people in this country,” she said, asked why Trump signed off on a narrower ban if he wanted the first imposed.
“Everybody wants to get into the labels and the semantics of it, but the bottom line is he’s trying to protect the citizens of this country,” she added.
Trump also aimed another insult at Khan that doubled as a criticism of the mainstream news media.
“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” he wrote. “MSM is working hard to sell it!”
Trump targeted the same fragment of a Khan statement on Sunday, although the London leader was telling residents there’s no reason to be alarmed by the increased armed police presence on the streets.
In response to an inquiry about Trump’s tweets, a Khan spokeswoman said: “Nothing has changed since yesterday. The Mayor is focused on dealing with Saturday’s horrific and cowardly attack and working with the police, the emergency services and the Government to keep London safe.”
Huckabee Sanders defended the president’s representation of Khan.
“The point is there is a reason to be alarmed,” she said. “We have constant attacks going on, not just there, but across the globe, and we have to start putting national security and global security at an all-time high.”