President Donald Trump confirmed the precise reason why his new travel ban was blocked on Wednesday.
During a campaign-style speech in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump railed against a Hawaii federal judge who put his revised travel ban on hold. The new executive order was set to take effect on Thursday.
“The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump told the crowd.
Those words were seen as problematic, since the US Justice Department is tasked with defending the president’s executive order in court.
Trump’s wording is nearly identical to what critics challenging the ban have said, noting that Trump’s new executive order did not do enough to address the constitutional concerns of Trump’s first action on immigration. One of the most prominent changes in the order removed Iraq from the list of majority-Muslim countries from which travel to the US would be restricted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of Trump’s new executive order last week: “A watered-down ban is still a ban.” Schumer added: “Despite the administration’s changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more; it is mean-spirited, and un-American. It must be repealed.”
“The ruling makes us look weak,” Trump said during his Nashville speech.
California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra sounded off the revised ban on Monday, saying “The Trump Administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim travel ban, but they didn’t change its unconstitutional intent and effect.”
“It’s still an attack on people – women and children, professors and business colleagues, seniors and civic leaders – based on their religion and national origin.”