NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump fired back Monday at lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have criticized his executive order to bar individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama has weighed in on President Trump’s immigration orders in his first public comments since he left office 10 days ago.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Schumer said the ban caused chaos and confusion over the weekend with people being temporarily detained at airports across the country. The senator also has other concerns, saying the ban “will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who do us harm.”
Trump tweeted Monday morning that only 109 out of 325,000 people “were detained and held for questioning” and that “big problems” were created at airports by a Delta Airlines computer outage, “protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer.”
On Saturday and Sunday, demonstrators packed many of the country’s major airports protesting the executive order and Schumer got emotional at a news conference about the president’s temporary travel ban.
“This executive order was mean spirited and un-American,” Schumer said with tears in his eyes. “It will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who do us harm.”
The president did not find Schumer genuine.
“I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears,” Trump said at a meeting with small business leaders in the Oval Office Monday morning.”I’m going to ask him who is his acting coach, because I know him very well. I don’t see him as a crier. If he is, he’s a different man. There’s about a five percent chance that it was real, but I think they were fake tears.”
The 90-day ban, imposed on Friday, affects travel to the United States by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria.
“This focus on securing our borders in our homeland was obviously a major part of what the president campaigned on and now he’s doing exactly what he told the American people he would do,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a press briefing Monday.
The move has now triggered protest and now criticism from former President Barack Obama. A spokesperson wrote, “The president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Some Democrats are promising lawsuits.
“I think the real problem is how it focuses on countries and nations of origin,” said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine. “It’s overbroad, over-inclusive and it needs to be narrowed.”
But White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the reaction is overblown.
“There were 325,000 people who came into the country over a 24-0hour period from another country; 109 were stopped for additional screening,” Spicer said. “We’ve got to keep this in proportion, folks.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Peter King (R-N.Y.) said the president’s decision is essential to national security and not anti-immigrant.
“It’s not anti-Muslim, it doesn’t stop immigration, it suspends immigration through seven countries for three months, that’s a total exaggeration and that just plays into the hands of the enemy,” King told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
“As far as the seven countries, these were agreed upon last year with President Obama when we passed legislation in Congress about the most dangerous countries with terrorists possibly coming to the us,” he told CBS2.
In another tweet Monday, Trump said: “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”
“If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week,” he said in another tweet. “A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
Over the weekend, Trump defended the order and said he will find other ways to help those suffering from Syria’s bloody civil war.
The president insisted it’s “not a Muslim ban” and blamed the media for that suggestion. He said the U.S. will resume issuing visas to all countries impacted after a review of security policies.
According to CBS News, all of the travelers who were detained were eventually allowed into the U.S. after extra screening and emergency rulings from federal judges.
The Delta systems outage Trump referred to in one of this tweets Monday happened Sunday night and led to departure delays and cancellations of at least 150 Delta flights. Systems are back to normal with some cancellations on Monday.
Democratic senators are expected to introduce legislation to overturn Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
At the White House Monday morning, Trump kept an economic focus – meeting with leaders of small business.
“All of us here have a seat at the table,” said Roger Campos, chairman of the Minority Business RoundTable. “That’s something we haven’t had before.”
Trump also said he will announce his pick for Supreme Court justice Tuesday night.
“A person who is unbelievable; highly respected — I think you will be very impressed with this person,” Trump said in describing his pick.
Spicer, when referring to the pick, referenced a “he” — perhaps indicating the choice was a man. But Spicer would say no more.
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