WASHINGTON -  President Donald Trump slammed the courts Wednesday as “so political” as a panel of appellate judges weighed whether to reinstate an executive order barring US entry to refugees and nationals from seven mainly Muslim countries.

The travel ban, which plunged airports around the country into chaos after it was announced without warning January 27, has embroiled Trump in a willful test of strength with the US judiciary less than three weeks into his presidency.

Speaking to police chiefs and sheriffs, Trump expressed “amazement” over questions raised about the ban in a high-stakes hearing Tuesday by three federal appeals judges, saying what he heard was “disgraceful, just disgraceful.”

“I don’t ever want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased and we haven’t had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political,” he said.

Earlier in a tweet, Trump warned the court ruling against his controversial executive order on immigration would result in the US “never” having “the security and safety to which we are entitled.”

“If the US does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!” Trump posted on Twitter.

An hour later, he said he would be discussing the “horrible, dangerous and wrong decision” in a speech to the Major Cities Chief Association meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

Tuesday night’s hearing marked the greatest legal challenge yet to the ban, which bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the US

The Justice Department is seeking a stay on a Seattle judge’s order that halted the travel ban, pending fuller consideration from the court on the appeal itself.

Trump promised on Tuesday that he’d pursue the case through the Supreme Court if necessary.

“We’re going to take it through the system,” Trump said. “It’s very important for the country.”

However, chaos ensued at many US airports after immigration officers indiscriminately detained foreign nationals as they arrived on American soil.

Besides the 90-day entry ban on people from the seven aforementioned countries, Trump’s order also halted all refugee admissions for four months and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Upon signing an executive order to authorise the ban on January 27, Trump said he was trying to keep what he called “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country.

Even children fell victim to the cruel treatment, an issue that came into highlight following the hours-long detention of a 5-year-old Iranian boy at an airport in Washington.

In another instance, the parents of a 1-year-old Iraqi boy were not allowed to join their son, who was sent to the US for treatment after suffering serious burns at a refugee camp. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the maltreatment of children, arguing that “age and gender” did not determine a person’s “security risk.”

Thousands of Americans have also expressed their opposition to the ban by staging demonstrations and running online campaigns.

Responding to the controversial measure, US Federal Judge James Robart issued a ruling last Friday, ordering a temporary nationwide halt to Trump’s travel ban.

However, the White House insisted that the President’s decision was “lawful and appropriate” and said the US Justice Department would appeal to stop the judge’s order from taking effect.

Judges sharply question lawyers for both sides on Trump’s travel ban.

Meanwhile, a San Francisco-based Federal Appellate Court on Tuesday put sharp questions to the lawyers challenging and defending President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order – whose immediate fate now rests with the court. The three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit aggressively questioned a Justice Department lawyer about what he considered the limits on the President’s power and what evidence Trump relied upon in temporarily barring refugees and other citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

But the panel similarly interrogated the state of Washington’s solicitor general, who is challenging the President’s directive, over what evidence he had to demonstrate religious discrimination and whether a lower court judge’s freeze on the ban was too broad.

The court said it expects to make a decision on the matter “probably this week,” and Judge Michelle Taryn Friedland promised rapid consideration. The ruling could potentially affect tens of thousands of travellers whose visas were revoked by the initial executive order, then restored after US District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle put a nationwide stop to it.

President ATTACKS NORDSTROM

FOR DROPPING DAUGHTER’S

FASHION LINE

President Trump lashed out at department store chain Nordstrom over its recent decision to stop selling his daughter’s clothing line. “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom,” Trump said in a tweet shortly before 1600 GMT.

“She is a great person - always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

The retailer, which has about 350 stores in the United States and Canada, said last week it was dropping Ivanka Trump’s line - which includes high-end women’s clothing, accessories and shoes - due to poor sales.

Representatives of the upscale retailer did not immediately responded to a request for comment from AFP about the twitter attack.

Nordstrom said in a statement last week that its decision was based purely on commercial merit and came as part of its regular review of the 2,000 brands it sells. “In this case, based on the brand’s performance we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

 

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT/AFP