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Trump’s officials call travel ban a massive success despite broad criticism

A senior administration official said the executive orders signed by the US president were being fully enforced by relevant agencies.

world Updated: Jan 30, 2017 09:52 IST
Demonstrators march near the White House to protest against US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Demonstrators march near the White House to protest against US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.(NYT photo)

Aides to US President Donald Trump on Sunday called the implementation of a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries a “massive success story” despite criticism from some top Republicans, protests and disarray at airports.

A senior administration official said the executive orders signed by Trump on Friday, which bar the admission of Syrian refugees and suspends travel to the United States from Syria, Iraq, Iran and four other countries on national security grounds, were being fully enforced by relevant agencies.

Read: US tempers part of Trump immigration ban amid big protests, criticism

“Nothing has changed,” said the official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity as rallies against the move erupted across the United States.

US judges in at least five states blocked federal authorities from enforcing the order. Lawyers representing people covered by the order said some authorities were unwilling to follow the court rulings.

The administration official rejected criticism of the way Trump’s plan had been implemented, saying: “So it really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level.”

Read: ‘The world is a horrible mess’: Trump defends executive orders on immigration

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the US senate foreign relations committee, however, said the application of the order was poorly implemented, particularly for green card holders, who have lawful permanent residence status.

White House defends strategist’s clout on national security

The White House on Sunday said the addition of President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to regular meetings on national security was essential to the commander in chief’s decision-making process.

Trump took steps on Saturday to begin restructuring the White House National Security Council, adding the senior adviser to the principals committee, which includes the secretaries of state and defense.

At the same time, Trump said his director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff will attend only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”

Bannon served in the Navy before attending Harvard Business School, working at Goldman Sachs, starting his own media-focused boutique investment banking firm and later heading the ultraconservative outlet Breitbart News, which has been condemned for featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.

Also read: An unguided missile: US national security handover to Trump has been bumpy

“He is a former naval officer. He’s got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP photo)

Spicer said “having the chief strategist for the president in those meetings who has a significant military background to help make — guide what the president’s final analysis is going to be is crucial.”

But to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, the NSC “sadly has some really questionable people on it,” he said, citing Bannon among them.