U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he wants a quick Supreme Court ruling to reinstate his ban on travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries where terrorist attacks have occurred.
In a string of comments on his Twitter account, Trump attacked his own Justice Department for submitting a "watered down, politically correct" version of the ban to the Supreme Court review that would affect travel from Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. He said the agency should have stayed with an appeal of an earlier ban that also included Iraq.
"In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe," Trump said. "The courts are slow and political!"
Trump and administration officials have insisted his executive order limiting travel to the United States was not a travel ban, but he called it that in his latest barrage of Twitter comments.
"People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN.," Trump said.
Minutes later, he posted: "The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C."
He said, "The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court - & seek much tougher version!"
Several U.S. courts have blocked Trump's order aimed at travel from the six countries after earlier blocking his first order. In part, the courts have ruled that his comments on Islamic terrorism and one-time call for a total ban on Muslims entering the country show that even his more limited block on travel to the U.S. amounts to unconstitutional religious discrimination against Muslims. He has appealed the lower court rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a string of Twitter comments Sunday, the U.S. leader vowed support for Britain in the aftermath of Saturday's deadly attack in London, criticized London's mayor and took a tough stance on fighting terrorism.
"We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people," Trump said Sunday. "If we don't get smart it will only get worse."
He mocked London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was elected last year and is the first Muslim to lead a major Western capital.
Trump tweeted, "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!"
As news of the Saturday carnage spread throughout his city and the world, Khan condemned the attack, describing it as "a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners," later saying that Britons should not be alarmed to see a greater police presence on the streets of London.
Khan's spokesman said the London mayor was too busy to respond to Trump, that "he has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks. On Monday, Trump called Khan's explanation of his remark a "pathetic excuse."
Within an hour after three attackers drove a van into a crowd of people on London Bridge and then stabbed people in a nearby commercial area, Trump said, "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 said the United States will do whatever it can to help London and Britain combat terrorism. "WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!" he said.
In the United States, most mass attacks involve gun violence, which typically then starts a new debate on gun ownership rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
After the London attack, Trump noted, "Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!"
Source: Voice of America