“There is absolutely no way on God’s earth that they can make that case, that this is something to do with xenophobia or a religious group,” Gorka, a deputy assistant to the President whose counterterrorism chops have been criticized by others in the field, said in a Thursday interview with Breitbart News.
“There is not one instance on the campaign trail or after the President took office in which the travel suspension was mentioned without reference to national security,” he continued. “It was never mentioned that we’re doing this because of a certain religious group.”
That is simply not the case, as U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland noted this week in rulings blocking the revised travel ban from going into effect.
Both judges pointed to explicit comments from the President and his allies about a “Muslim ban,” and Trump's infamous call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” in a December 2015 press release. The “religious objective” of the latest executive order is made clear in those statements, the judges determined.
The Trump administration has argued that the new order, which would temporarily bar citizens from six majority-Muslim nations and suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, is instead a matter of urgent national security.
Gorka pressed this point to Breitbart, arguing that the judges’ “political” decision undermined the President’s “prerogative” to enforce national security. He predicted that their attempt to block the order “will fail.”
Trump has vowed to bring the case all the way up to the Supreme Court if need be.