White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday defended President Trump’s order to temporarily ban immigration from seven mostly-Muslim nations – and deflected criticism over countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan not being included in the ban.
“These are countries that have a history of training, harboring, exporting terrorists,” Conway, counselor to the president, told “Fox News Sunday.” “We can’t keep pretending and looking the other way.”
Conway said the previous Barack Obama administration and Congress essentially came up with the list of seven, citing the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015.
A federal judge on Saturday evening issued an emergency order temporarily barring the administration from deporting people from those countries.
Conway argued Sunday that the Brooklyn judge who issued the order was a President Obama appointee and that the judge’s order doesn’t impact the thrust of Trump’s executive order – preventing dangerous people from coming into the country, not detaining them.
“The upside (is) greater protection of our borders, our people. That’s a small price to pay,” said Conway, arguing the ban impacts just roughly 1% of such travellers.
In the wide-ranging interview 10 days into the Trump administration, Conway also attempted to explain why such countries as Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not included in the ban.
She said Trump was privy to intelligence reports that critics and others have not seen and suggested the list could change.
“They can’t have it both ways on Trump,” she said.
“The president and Congress will always have information we do not.”
Conway again on Sunday criticised the media for what she suggested was unfair coverage of the administration.
She questioned why news organisations haven’t fired the pundits, columnists, pollsters and others who failed to foresee Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“It’s a colossal failure that nobody wants to talk about,” she said.
On her back-and-forth with reporters over such issues, Conway said, “I ripped them a new one.”
Conway said Trump’s controversial plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border will not spark a destructive trade war between nations.
She declined to say whether Trump’s nominee to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat will attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, the high court’s landmark case on abortion.
“That will come up in a person’s [confirmation] hearings,” said Conway, acknowledging that Trump is a pro-life president.
“They will be asked about Roe v. Wade obsessively.”
Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered at the White House and numerous airports around the country on Sunday to protest President Trump’s executive order placing temporary travel restrictions on people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting the acceptance of refugees.
Republican Hakeem Jeffries DNY called the executive order a “reckless, unconstitutional, unsavory, un-American effort.”
He also questioned why some predominantly Muslim countries were listed but others were not.
“If this order was really about trying to make America the safest country it can be, then why were some countries left off the order? Most notably Saudi Arabia?” asked Jeffries during a news conference at JFK.