Donald Trump’s administration has previously argued against those who characterize his executive order on travel from certain countries with predominantly Muslim populations as a “ban.” Instead, they’ve called it a “temporary pause” and “extreme vetting.” Despite this, Trump has continued to call the order a “ban” on his social media platforms, and now the ACLU is calling him out for it.
NPR reported in January that Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had addressed the matter, assuring the public that Trump’s executive order did not place a “ban” on Muslims. Trump’s own Facebook page, two days before, had carried a statement about the executive order, with Trump declaring, “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.”
However, only the day before that post, Trump had tweeted, calling the policy a ban himself, and asserting that it couldn’t have been effective with any advance notice.
In February, Donald Trump tweeted that he didn’t care whether people called the policy a ban or not.
After Press Secretary Sean Spicer also denied that the order was a ban, Trump proceeded to call it a ban in no fewer than four tweets in a single day.
By this point, the ongoing commentary from White House officials maintaining that the order was not a ban while Donald Trump continued to refer to it as one was becoming a meme, to such an extent that it was featured on Saturday Night Live, where Melissa McCarthy, as Sean Spicer, mocked the administration through convoluted explanations that the president was only calling it a “ban” because the press did so when quoting him. If “is it a ban or not” wasn’t already firmly cemented in the public consciousness at this point, the skit ensured it.
Donald Trump said it didn’t matter whether the order was called a ban, but whether it is considered to be one may matter in court. Though the implementation of Trump’s order was halted by a federal court, and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court, Trump is still fighting to reinstate the order.
One factor in that decision may be whether SCOTUS determines that the order is indeed meant to be a ban on people of a specific religious group (in this case, Muslims). If so, they may choose to uphold the ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which, The Atlantic reports, said in a ruling last month that the order “…drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
The ACLU has already responded to a current push for the Supreme Court of the United States to allow Trump’s order to be implemented and to overturn the ruling against it, saying their organization will continue to fight against the order.
If the repeated characterizations of the order as a ban, by President Donald Trump himself, will be a deciding factor, then it’s no surprise that the ACLU would take time to call out these statements and amplify them. Following attacks in London on Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted to push for what he referred to as “the travel ban.”
The ACLU quickly responded, saying the organization is “glad we both agree” that “ban” is the correct terminology for the order, and pinning the tweet to keep it at the top of their Twitter timeline.
While there are still a lot of questions unanswered about the London attacks, and what exactly the Supreme Court will do with Trump’s request to reinstate his executive order on travel, the ACLU has made at least one thing abundantly clear: if Donald Trump is going to use the terror attacks to promote a travel ban, they’re going to make sure the country — and the court — notices that he’s still calling it a ban.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]