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The White House chief of staff says President Donald Trump acted early on in his term to impose a travel ban on refugees to block “people who want to do bad things to America.”
Reince Priebus says there’s nothing to apologize for after Friday’s executive order drew widespread protests. A court order has temporarily barred the U.S. from deporting certain people.
Trump is temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
Priebus told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning that the action “doesn’t affect green card holders moving forward” — the subject of legal challenges.
“We didn’t overrule the Department of Homeland Security; as far as green card holders moving forward, it doesn’t affect them,” Priebus said. But when pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether it impacts green card holders, Priebus reversed himself: “Well, of course it does. If you’re traveling back and forth, you’re going to be subjected to further screening.”
Scores were detained Saturday upon arrival at U.S. airports, spurring the judge’s order.
Priebus says officials were using “discretionary authority” to ask “a few more questions” at U.S. airports.
He added that the order was rolled out quickly because “this is all done for the protection of Americans, and waiting another three days, waiting another three weeks is something that we don’t want to get wrong.”
Priebus also defended the White House’s controversial decision not to reference Jews in their statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Obviously that that was what the Holocaust was about,” Priebus said about the genocide of millions of Jews. “It’s a horrible event. And obviously a miserable time in history that we remember here at the White House and certainly will never forget the Jewish people that suffered in World War II.”
He added that “there was no harm or ill will or offense intended by any of that,” but said, “I don’t regret the words.”
Watch the segment below.
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