11:56, June 05 261 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-05 11:56:03
Trump attacks Sadiq Khan again and rails at courts for blocking travel ban

In the aftermath of the London terror attack, Donald Trump on Monday returned the offensive over security, attacking Sadiq Khan and renewing his criticism of the US courts for blocking his attempted travel ban against people from six Muslim-majority countries.

“People,” the president tweeted, “the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”

Trump also added to his widely reviled criticism of Khan, the London mayor, writing: “Pathetic excuse by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. [Mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!”

Khan responded on Sunday to Trump’s first criticism of his advice to Londoners in the wake of the attack, a spokesman saying the mayor had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”

Trump’s executive order restricting entry to the US from Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Syria – a first version included Iraq – has been blocked by federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii. The White House has appealed to the supreme court.

Rulings against the order have concerned Trump and associates’ references to the order as a “ban”, and references to Muslims being its target. A ban on entry to the US based on religion – as a ban on the countries concerned would be on a de facto basis – would be unconstitutional on grounds of religious discrimination.

On the campaign trail last year, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US.

Among the people who have insisted that Trump’s policy does not amount to a “ban” is the president’s own press secretary. In January, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters: “It’s not a Muslim ban. It’s not a travel ban. It’s a vetting system to keep America safe.”

Trump tweeted about his travel ban on Saturday night, as events in London were unfolding. Seven people died and 48 were injured, 18 critically, when three attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then attacked people with knives in Borough Market. All three attackers were shot dead by police.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump wrote then, in the first of a number of widely criticised tweeted responses to the London attack. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the travel ban as an extra level of safety!”

In response to that, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed to Trump’s potential legal misstep when it tweeted: “Glad we both agree the ban is a ban.”

On Monday, Trump carried on regardless, writing: “The Justice Dept should have stayed with the original travel ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to [supreme court].

“The Justice Dept should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down travel ban before the supreme court – and seek much tougher version!

“In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the US in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!”

Neil Katyal, a supreme court lawyer, tweeted in response: “It’s kinda odd to have the defendant in Hawaii v Trump acting as our co-counsel. We don’t need the help but will take it!”

White House social media director Dan Scavino has denied reports that as the Trump White House struggles with its legislative agenda and FBI and congressional investigations into ties between Trump aides and Russia, lawyers are now monitoring the president’s tweets.