Breaking News Emails
President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade Monday morning in favor of his originally proposed travel ban, calling what his administration sent to the Supreme Court a “watered down, politically correct” version of his original plan.
The tweets followed his statements over the weekend when he advocated for the controversial crackdown on immigration in light of the terror attack in London.
"People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want," Trump wrote on Monday. "But I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!"
Administration officials have avoided calling the travel restriction a "ban" in the past after critics claimed it was akin to a "Muslim ban."
In January, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the media the travel restriction was "not a ban."
"[Trump] has made it very clear this is not a 'Muslim ban,' this is not a 'travel ban' — it's a vetting system to keep American safe. That's it," Spicer said, later adding that it couldn't be a ban if America was "letting a million people in."
U.S. courts have blocked two executive orders signed by Trump, which would enact the travel ban for 90 days from six predominantly Muslim countries. On Thursday, the Trump administration appealed its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it reinstate the executive order.
Trump continued to tweet on Monday, saying the Justice Department "should have stayed with the original travel ban" rather than the "watered down, politically correct version" that the administration submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court - & seek much tougher version!" Trump wrote.
The original version of the executive order included a seventh country, Iraq, and didn't explicitly exempt green card or visa holders.
He followed up by tweeting: "In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!"
But on Monday morning, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said the vetting process was "poor," adding it was in Trump's right to review the laws.
"This is all I’ll say about the actual statute: I think people should look at the constitutional authority and the statutory authority for any president, including this one, to take a look at the poor vetting processes and screening processes," Conway told TODAY's Craig Melvin and Savannah Guthrie.
Earlier in the interview, Conway was asked if tweets Trump sent on Sunday about London's Mayor Sadiq Khan, which mischaracterized a quote from the mayor regarding a terrorist attack in the city on Saturday, warranted an apology.
"So we’ve got the 23rd ISIS inspired or directed attack, taking innocent lives — children in Manchester, children in Nice — and we want to know, we want to put some blameworthiness here on President Trump? I’m just not going to allow it," Conway said, adding that an attack on London is an attack on American values.
Trump continued to single out Khan on Twitter Monday, saying the mayor offered up a "pathetic excuse" to explain his full comment.
After Trump's initial online comments, Khan's spokesman said in a statement: "He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners to be alarmed when they saw more police — including armed officers — on the streets."
It is still not known if the three terrorists, who attacked London on Saturday by using cars and knives to kill seven and injure 48, had any contact with ISIS or were "ISIS-inspired."
After news of the attack broke, Trump used it to rally support for the proposed ban.
"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" Trump tweeted Saturday.