WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump accused federal judges Wednesday of playing politics by suspending his travel ban and forcefully went after the appeals judges who are deciding whether to uphold that decision.
“It’s a sad day,” Trump said. “I think our security is at risk today, and it will be at risk until we get what we are entitled to.”
Speaking to a gathering of police chiefs in Washington, Trump put on a highly public show of trying to sway the judges. They heard arguments a day earlier in the lawsuit over his executive order suspending all refugee admissions and canceling visas from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Trump read directly from the Immigration and Nationality Act that lays out what powers the president has to stop legal entry into the U.S. in times of crisis.
“A bad high school student would understand this,” Trump said, arguing his central point that the law gives him expansive power to block foreigners from entering the country.
“This is a weapon that you need, and they are trying to take it away from you maybe because of politics, maybe because of political views,” Trump told the law enforcement officers, referring to his order.
Trump’s remarks were an unusually aggressive effort by a sitting president to influence an ongoing court case in which he is involved.
He said he had listened Tuesday night to a broadcast of the arguments before judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The three-judge panel will decide whether to strike down or uphold a lower-court ruling temporarily suspending the enforcement of Trump’s travel ban. The appeals court won’t rule on whether the president’s executive order conflicts with other constitutional protections.
Civil liberties advocates and Democrats have argued that Trump’s travel ban unfairly blocks entry for Muslims, as he promised to do on the campaign trail. That would violate the constitutional restriction on the government favoring one religion over another, they argue.
Some national security experts have said that the ban doesn’t address the threats facing the country and could further embolden terrorists to strike against the U.S.
“If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!” Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday.
He also called the court decision suspending his ban “horrible, dangerous and wrong.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.