US President Donald Trump said late on Friday (February 10) aboard Air Force One that he is considering issuing a revised travel ban executive order, after the initial order was rejected by an appeal court a day earlier.
In a step that triggered the most serious legal confrontation yet for the new Republican administration, Trump two weeks ago issued an executive order banning entry into the United States by refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, triggering nationwide protests and legal challenges.
A federal judge in Seattle last week issued a temporary restraining order putting the travel ban on hold. That suspension was upheld by an appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday, raising questions about Trump's next step.
In a surprise visit with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida from Washington, Trump said he was considering "a brand new order" that could be issued as soon as Monday or Tuesday if he decides to move in that direction.
Trump's order, which he called a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except refugees from Syria, who are banned indefinitely.
President Trump tweeted on the travel ban, once again taking a pot shot at the judiciary.
Our legal system is broken! "77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries." (WT) SO DANGEROUS!
On Air Force One, Trump said regarding the 9th Circuit court fight: "We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily ... We need speed for reasons of security."
In separate remarks, Trump also said that Iran President Hassan Rouhani "better be careful" after Rouhani was quoted as saying that anyone who speaks to Iranians with threats would regret it.
Trump was asked about Rouhani's reported remarks to a rally in Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Rouhani was quoted in media reports as saying Iran had shown in the 38 years since the revolution that "it will make anyone who speaks to Iranians with the language of threats regret it".
"He better be careful," Trump said.
Trump, on February 2, had put Iran "on notice" over charges that Tehran violated a nuclear deal with the West by test-firing a ballistic missile, taking an aggressive posture toward Iran that could raise tensions in the region.
Transcribed interview of President Trump onboard Air Force One:
TRUMP: "Hello, everybody. Everything good? Press conference, good? I think it was great, huh? Really good. Are you comfortable?
REPORTER: "Can you talk about some of what you said?"
TRUMP: "Some what?"
REPORTER: "Some of what you said in the press conference."
REPORTER: "You spoke about you--, you, you're going to win this--, this court battle against the--, the-, the immigration travel ban."
TRUMP: "We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is it takes time statutorily. So, it takes a little time. We'll win that battle but we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order on Monday."
REPORTER: "Is that your plan to--"
TRUMP: "Could very well be. But I like to keep you, you know, I like to surprise you. We need speed for reasons of security, so it could very well be that we do that."
REPORTER: "What are some of the changes that you are looking at?"
TRUMP: "Very little. Just--, in honor of the decision we will, perhaps, do that. We'll see. But, Monday or Tuesday."
REPORTER: "You talked about new security measures. Is that separate from, potentially, running a new--"
TRUMP: "We're going to have very, very strong vetting. I call it extreme vetting and we're going to have very strong security in our country. We are going to have people come into our country that want to be here for good reasons."
REPORTER: "What do you think of reports, Mr. President--. What do you make of reports that General Flynn had conversations with the Russians about sanctions before you were sworn-in?"
TRUMP: "I don't know about it. I haven't seen it. What report is that? I haven't seen it."
REPORTER: "(Unintelligible) reporting that he talked to the ambassador of Russia before you were inaugurated about sanctions being--"
TRUMP: "I haven't seen that. I'll look at that."
REPORTER: "Mr. President, what is your response to the Iranian president who, earlier today, told people that any--, any nation that threatens the nation of Iran is going to regret it eventually."
TRUMP: "He better be careful. Thank you. Thank you very much."