By the numbers:
- Protesters against immigration ban: “tens of thousands”
- Travelers affected by immigration ban: “about” 375
- Votes needed to approve Supreme Court nominee: 60
Trump faces fallout from Immigration Order in a weekend of criticism and protests
On Friday, President Trump signed an order that barred immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order has been met with fierce criticism from the left, the right, Silicon Valley and even former President Obama. As protesters flooded into airports across the country, including John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, the Trump administration showed a less than cohesive messaging strategy against criticism.
White House cyber security adviser Rudy Giuliani described the order as a Muslim ban in an interview with Fox News, while the president insisted the media was incorrect in reporting it as such. Meanwhile Michael Flynn Jr., son of national security adviser Michael Flynn, joined Giuliani in his analysis tweeting out in support of the “Muslim ban.” His entire Twitter profile has been deleted since the initial tweet. The dysfunction inside the White House preluded the signing of the order, with secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson reportedly being “baffled” that he was not told about the order.
As a cherry on the top of the tumultuous weekend for the Trump administration, recently “relieved” as of Monday at 9:16 p.m., Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Justice Department to not defend the order since Yates remains unconvinced the order is illegal.
The battle for the Supreme Court has begun without a nominee
Trump has made his decision on who to nominate to the Supreme Court, as he announced on his Twitter page early Monday morning at 5:43 a.m. He is set to announce his pick Tuesday at 8 p.m., but even before the announcement Democrats have positioned themselves to prepare an unprecedented opposition after Republicans’ unprecedented refusal to consider Merrick Garland last year.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) stated in an interview he will filibuster any nominee that isn’t Merrick Garland. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told Politico the Republicans would not be using the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster. If McConnell wants to stick to his plan to not eliminate the filibuster, then he will have to pull 8 Democrats to his side and approve Trump’s nominee.
If Merkley is right about the Democratic caucus being behind the filibuster, then McConnell will be forced into a tough position. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) hasn’t taken as hard line of an approach as Merkley but has promised to oppose any nominee that isn’t in line with the Democrats.