In the span of 40 minutes Saturday morning, President Donald Trump sent four tweets to his 23 million followers, most of which were focused on defending his executive order temporarily barring travelers from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
Trump’s first tweet issued a cryptic warning that when countries are “no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out,” there would be “big trouble.”
When Trump signed his immigration order, he said it was a necessary move in order to prevent Islamic terrorists from entering the country. His critics, however, have called the ban unconstitutional because it discriminates against people on the basis of their religion. The order does include a provision which prioritizes entrance for people of minority religions in the seven affected countries, widely interpreted to mean Christians.
In his second tweet, Trump claimed that “certain” countries in the Middle East supported his order, saying that these countries understand that “if certain people are allowed in it's death & destruction!”
Per the New York Times, several prominent Muslim countries in the Middle East have indeed remained silent as other European nations issued denunciations of the order. Trump has spoken with the heads of state of both Saudi Arabia and Egypt since the order, but neither has issued a public statement on the order. It is unknown if Trump’s tweet means they privately expressed their support to him.
Meanwhile, Iraq and Iran, two countries affected by the order, have issued fierce criticisms of the ban, with Iran even going so far as to ban Americans from entering the country until the order is lifted.
Interestingly, Trump used the word “ban” to refer to his executive order in the tweet, despite the White House’s criticism of the news media for using the term to describe the action.
“It's not a Muslim ban. It's not a travel ban,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday. “It's a vetting system to keep America safe.”
When pressed why Trump had used the word himself in previous tweets, Spicer said he was simply “using the words the media was using.”
Trump later tweeted about the controversy.
“Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!” he said.
In his third tweet, Trump specifically railed against a Seattle judge’s ruling that temporarily halted the enforcement of the ban, referring to James Robart as “this so-called judge.”
Trump’s decision to seemingly question Robart’s authority drew swift condemnation from Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, who implied that his words were damaging chances of Democrats lending any support to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
“With each action testing the Constitution, and each personal attack on a judge, President Trump raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court. His ability to be an independent check will be front and center throughout the confirmation process,” Schumer said, per Politico.
Robart was appointed to his federal judgeship by George W. Bush and was confirmed by the Senate with a 99-0 vote.
Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also issued a tweet blasting Trump’s wording.
In the final tweet of the spree, Trump once again attacked the New York Times, referring to them as “fake news” and saying the newspaper is “still lost.”
Since last Saturday, Trump has sent four tweets criticizing the Times, which recently hit 3 million subscribers, a milestone for the paper.