Recent comments made by a top aide to the White House contributed, in part, to a federal judges Wednesday ruling to place a nationwide hold on parts of President Donald Trumps second attempt at a travel ban against citizens of six Muslim-majority nations.
Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to the president, was one of Trumps most vocal mouthpieces following the fraught rollout of the administrations first travel ban that sparked massive protests at airports around the country. Shortly after federal judges struck down that order, Miller appeared on television to stump a watered-down version, assuring Fox News it would include only minor technical differences.
The ruling notes:
On February 21, Senior Advisor to the President, Stephen Miller, told Fox News that the new travel ban would have the same effect as the old one. He said: Fundamentally, youre still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country, but youre going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court and those will be addressed. But in terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect.
Those plainly worded statements, it seems, helped lead U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to issue a temporary restraining order against the ban on Wednesday. There is nothing secret about the executives motive specific to the issuance of the executive order, Watsons ruling reads. It continues to point out statements made by Rudy Giuliani in January about the first ban:
Rudolph Giuliani explained on television how the Executive Order came to be. He said: When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, Muslim ban. He called me up. He said, Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.
Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude … that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, secondary to a religious objective of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims, Watson wrote.