Cabinet officials without governmental experience? What could possibly go wrong?
It wasn’t until Friday — the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days — that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said.
The result was widespread confusion across the country on Saturday as airports struggled to adjust to the new directives. In New York, two Iraqi nationals sued the federal government after they were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and 10 others were detained as well.
In Philadelphia, a Syrian family of six who had a visa through a family connection in the US was placed on a return flight to Doha, Qatar, and Department of Homeland Security officials said others who were in the air would be detained upon arrival and put back on a plane to their home country.
Fortunately, the president speaks in a calm, reassuring manner, befitting the dignity of his office:
Asked during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office Saturday afternoon about the rollout, Trump said his government was “totally prepared.”
“It’s working out very nicely,” Trump told reporters. “You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”
But the language of the executive order uses nuance and precision, eschewing jingoism:
The executive order, which he said was aimed at protecting Americans from terrorist attacks, singled out Syrian refugees as “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
When the refugee program resumes, the executive order calls for changes to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Trump said.
I recognize that the president has legal authority over refugees. Context matters, though. The speed with which the order was issue shows a wanton, reckless disregard for consequences.