White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that the U.S. needs “every available tool at our disposal” to keep terrorists out of the country, maintaining that President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order is lawful despite another legal setback earlier in the day.
A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump administration’s request to lift a block on the most recent iteration of the travel ban, one that the president lamented had been “watered down” in a series of tweets earlier this month. Spicer said the White House was still reviewing the ruling but continued to insist that the order will ultimately be upheld in court.
“I think we can all attest that these are very dangerous times and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence,” Spicer said at Monday’s White House press briefing. “We continue to be confident that the president’s executive order to protect this country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Supreme Court.”
Almost since its inception, the president’s travel ban has faced stiff legal headwinds and has been blocked multiple times by judges. Trump’s executive order, which halts the flow of refugees into the country and places a temporary ban on individuals from certain majority-Muslim nations from coming into the U.S., has been especially bedeviled by the West Coast-based 9th Circuit, which the White House has complained has a liberal bias.
Like past rulings against the travel ban, Monday’s decision cited the president’s Twitter rhetoric as part of the court’s rationale for ruling against it. “Immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show,” the court’s opinion said, accusing Trump of exceeding “the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress” to deal with immigration.
But Spicer said rhetoric from Trump and others in the White House, including himself, should be beside the point for courts, which should exclude from their rulings anything outside of the law itself.
“The bottom line is, as I just noted, cases should be decided on the rule of law and on that and when you look at the — when you look at what the law is, and the U.S. Code that allows the president to do whatever he has to, that’s what we were deciding on,” the press secretary said. “And frankly, I think any lawyer worth their salt 100 percent agrees that the president is fully within his rights and his responsibilities to do what is necessary to protect the country.”