White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday defended President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, claiming that the White House had “a very short period of time” to act on protecting national security.
“There was a very short period of time in which we had something to execute that would ensure that the people of the United States were safe,” Spicer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
He claimed that “everybody” was protected as a result of the executive order.
“What happened if we didn’t act and somebody was killed?” Spicer said.
“Was there an imminent threat? There was no imminent threat, was there?” interrupted Jeremy Peters, an MSNBC contributor and reporter for the New York Times.
“What I’m saying is, what I’m going to tell you is, so if something had happened and your answer was, well, if you guys had acted quicker we could have saved that person,” Spicer replied.
“Did you have information that something like that was going to happen?” Peters pressed.
“Jeremy, would you wait until you do?” Spicer said. “The answer is we act now to protect the future!”
He claimed that everyone who “needed to be a part of the process” behind the executive order supported it.
“Everybody that needed to be consulted was consulted,” Spicer said. “Everybody understands what the President was doing and why he was doing it and everybody that needed to be consulted was.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly was just being briefed on the order as he watched as Trump signed it on television, and Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis did not see the final draft of the order until hours before Trump signed it, according to a report published Sunday by the New York Times.
Watch the entire exchange below:
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