Reince Priebus, President Trump's chief of staff, was interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today about the executive order restricting people coming into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Todd asked if the administration had considered creating a “72-hour grace period” or a “one-week grace period” to allow federal immigration officials to understand the provisions of the executive order, Priebus answered, “Well, I don't think you want to have a grace period, Chuck, because then people that want to do bad things to Americans just move up their travel date two days in order to get into the country before the grace period's over.”
Todd also suggested that there was “chaos” at airports when immigrants were denied admission. Priebus responded, “And so it wasn't chaos. I mean, the fact of the matter is 325,000 people from foreign countries came into the United States yesterday. And 109 people were detained for further questioning.” He said that if the immigrants in question are “folks that shouldn't be in this country, they're going to be detained. And so apologize for nothing here.”
When Todd asked why the citizens of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan were not included on the list, Priebus said that the seven countries mentioned in Trump’s executive order were previously by Congress and the Obama administration as being “the seven most watched countries in regard to harboring terrorists.”
He added, “But you bring up a good point. Perhaps other countries needed to be added to an executive order going forward..we used the seven countries that have already been codified and identified by both the Obama administration and the Congress. But you bring up a good point and perhaps other countries need to be added. But this is all done for the protection of Americans.”
When Todd asked whether the fact that Trump’s businesses have ties to Saudi Arabia had any impact on why that country was not included on the list, Priebus answered, “Of course not, Chuck. Just like I said very clearly, the countries that were chosen in the executive order to protect Americans from terrorists were the countries that have already been identified by Congress and the Obama administration.”
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