Something is missing here.
Where is President Donald Trump’s completed review of vetting procedures for people coming to America from six mostly Muslim countries?
Back in January, the president was so keen on conducting a 90-day review of these procedures — supposedly to thwart terrorists — that he called for an immediate ban on travelers from the six countries until the review was completed, creating chaos at airports across the United States.
But now, well over 90 days later, the Trump administration has completed no review, though nobody has stopped them.
A reasonable conclusion is that Trump never cared a whit about vetting procedures in the first place. His call for a 90-day review was always just a pretext to ban Muslim travelers, as he promised on the campaign trail he would do.
This, we believe, is a key point worth making now that the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for the Trump administration to impose a scaled-back version of its travel ban. If the Trump administration had simply gone ahead and conducted the review, it would have been completed a month or two ago. Sensible changes in vetting procedures might have been made. And nobody would be accusing the president of Muslim-bashing.
It was on Jan. 27 — 151 days ago as of Tuesday — that Trump signed an executive order, later struck down by the courts, that banned citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days and refugees from Syria indefinitely. The justification for the executive order was to give the administration time to do its vetting.
Then on March 6, Trump unveiled a new, scaled-back executive order that dropped Iraq from the list.
On June 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the revised travel ban. But while doing so — and this is the heart of the matter — the 9th Circuit made clear the Trump administration was free to get going on that review of vetting procedures.
But on June 14, Trump issued a memorandum saying the 90-day travel ban wouldn’t kick in until 72 hours after the courts lift the travel-ban injunction. That kept his legal case alive, but it eviscerated his argument for the supposed real purpose of the ban.
Even the Supreme Court justices seemed surprised by the lack of urgency on the part of the Trump administration. They languidly put the issue on their October calendar, pointing out that the government had not asked the court to act more quickly. They also noted the administration will have plenty of time to complete its vetting review before October rolls around, which could make the Supreme Court case moot.
Trump will never do that. Muslim-bashing plays too well with his base.