Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly ripped this week's federal appeals court ruling that did not reinstate President Trump's revised temporary travel ban from six Muslim-majority countries, flatly saying Sunday "they're dead wrong."
The 4th Circuit Court, using similar language to lower courts that also rejected Trump's order, said the revised order from March 6 discriminated on the basis of religion. The New York Times reports:
At almost every turn since Mr. Trump ordered the travel ban — first in January, when it was halted by judicial objections, and again in March — federal courts have blocked it. Initially, the order suspended entry for travelers from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and banned refugees from Syria.
The revised order sought to soften the original ban, which was almost immediately blocked after foreign travelers found themselves stranded at chaotic airports and protesters nationwide called the policy un-American. The second order allowed case-by-case exceptions for incoming travelers and lifted the ban against Iraqi visitors. It also deleted explicit references to religion.
"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace quoted the judge who said the ban "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination."
"Mr. Secretary, judge after judge has said that this is a Muslim ban that violates the Constitution," Wallace said.
"They're dead wrong," Kelly said.
After a brief pause, Wallace filled the air.
"Well, I mean—you say that, but they're the ones who—" Wallace started.
"They're wrong," Kelly repeated.
Kelly pointed to the original seven countries on the list—Iraq has since been taken off—being on the Obama administration's list of countries of concern.
"That's where those seven countries came from," he said. "The fact is that in those countries, we have very little ability to actually verify, vet the people that are coming out of those countries … It's not a travel ban; remember, it's a travel pause. But the president said for 90 days, we were going to pause in terms of people from those countries coming to the United States that would give me time to look at additional vetting procedures."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week he will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.