MSNBC Analyst on Travel Ban Decision: It’s ‘A Fantastic Fulfillment of Osama Bin Laden’s Vision by Donald J. Trump’

• June 26, 2018 5:28 pm


MSNBC analyst Steve Schmidt reacted to the Supreme Court decision ruling President Donald Trump's travel ban to be constitutional by saying the president was fulfilling "Osama bin Laden's vision."

"Today was a fantastic fulfillment of Osama bin Laden's vision by Donald J. Trump," Schmidt said.

The remark from Schmidt, a former GOP strategist who officially left the Republican Party last week in disgust over the Trump administration's border policies, came during a discussion with "Deadline: White House" host Nicolle Wallace. The host asked Schmidt to comment on Tuesday's Trump v. Hawaii ruling after saying "you cannot separate" the president's former border separations policy and his celebration of the travel ban decision.

Wallace did not fully explain the connection but said, "this isn't even for the president about a policy victory, this is about the health of his psyche."

Schmidt began by mentioning the American citizenship and contributions of Lebanese-born former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who has been described as having been close to stopping the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, had he been given more access to intelligence.

"Is America better off with Ali Soufan here? I would argue he is," Schmidt said, although the president's executive order limiting travel to the U.S. does not include Lebanon.

Schmidt argued the travel ban decision was a win for the 9/11 mastermind bin Laden because he aimed to provoke a war between the West and Muslims.

"What Osama bin Laden hoped to provoke was a war of civilization. A war between the West and one billion Muslims. And so what Donald Trump and this Muslim ban signal to the world is that Muslims are not welcome here," Schmidt said.

Trump's executive order, issued last fall, restricts admission and halts new visa applications of citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The Supreme Court challenge did not argue against the last two additions, which are not majority Muslim and were not part of Trump's first travel ban from his first month in office.

"Whether the conservative justices say that, in fact, this is about executive power, the president's clear intent was to impose a religious test," Schmidt said. "That is fundamentally un-American as anything that he's done over the course of his presidency."

Schmidt further argued the decision was a blow to moderate Islam.

"The only force in the world that has the power to defeat extremist Islamic radicalism is moderate Islam. And moderate Islam was dealt a big setback today by this shortsighted, dangerous policy," Schmidt said.

Earlier Tuesday, Schmidt said the difference now between the United States and Venezuela and Cuba was that the latter two countries don't have "internment camps for babies and toddlers."