Washington: As President Donald Trump is set to face a major legal test over his travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, the White House today ruled out any possibility of withdrawing the order and exuded confidence of winning the case.
“Clearly the law is on the President’s side. The Constitution is on the President’s side. He has broad discretion to do what’s in the nation’s best interests to protect our people. And we feel very confident that we will prevail in this matter,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters travelling with the President aboard Air Force One from Tampa in Florida to Andrews Air Force base.
The temporary travel ban which affects Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has sparked widespread protests around the world.
The appeals court has asked for both sides to file legal briefs before the court makes its final decision after a federal judge halted the programme on Friday.
The US government defended the ban as a “lawful exercise” of President’s authority. The court is schedule to hear the case later in the day.
Meanwhile, Spicer ruled out any possibility of withdrawing the executive order.
“No, no, no,” he said when asked if the White House is thinking about withdrawing it.
“This executive order was done in the best interest of protecting the American people. I think this is something that has broad support from the American people from one coast to another, and we’re going to continue to do what we have to.
And this President is committed to making sure that the country and its people are safe,” he said in response to a question.
“I think part of the reason he issued the order the way he did was to ensure that people didn’t have an advance notice, and he protected the country and ensured that we have an idea of who’s coming in and out of the country,” Spicer argued.
Trump’s number-one priority is to do what he can to keep the American people safe, he added.
Trump, who paid a visit to US Central Command in Tampa, condemned the media for downplaying the terror threat his administration has cited to justify the travel ban.
“Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino, and all across Europe,” Trump said.
To defend President’s actions, the White House released a list of 78 terrorist attacks under-reported by the media.
“The President, again, got a great update today on the fight against ISIS that’s going on throughout the region and what our military is facing throughout this globe, trying to combat ISIS,” Spicer said.
“But there’s a lot of instances that have occurred where I don’t think that they’ve gotten the coverage it’s deserved, and I think that’s what the President was clearly referring to there,” he added. PTI