- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

President Trump’s Twitter account landed him into trouble yet again Wednesday, with a federal judge using a recent tweet about shooting terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood to prove Mr. Trump still maintains “religious animus” toward Muslims — and therefore his latest travel ban is illegal.

Judge Theodore D. Chuang, an Obama appointee to the U.S. District Court in Maryland, issued a ruling early Wednesday enjoining the administration from carrying out the latest iteration of the travel ban, issued in September.

Judge Chuang said the latest attempt at Mr. Trump’s “extreme vetting” travel ban, issued in a proclamation in late September, suffers from the same problems as two earlier travel ban executive orders because it still targets Muslim countries for severe restrictions, without giving enough of a justification.

“The proclamation’s ban generally resembles President Trump’s earlier description of the Muslim ban,” Judge Chuang wrote in his 91-page ruling.

The Justice Department had argued there was nothing anti-Muslim about the latest version of the policy, and pointed to Mr. Trump’s speech earlier this year in Saudi Arabia praising Islam as evidence there is no animus.

But Judge Chuang said that speech didn’t repudiate the president’s past statements. And in fact, the president made things worse with an August tweet where the president suggested terrorists could be handled by shooting them with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs, which Islam teaches are ritually impure.

While Mr. Trump mentioned terrorist and not Muslims, Judge Chuang drew the connection.

“President Trump tweeted a statement that a method hostile to Islam — shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood — should be used to deter future terrorism,” the judge said. “There is no record of public statements showing any change in the President’s intentions relating to a Muslim ban.”

Mr. Trump told the pig’s blood story on the campaign trail, sparking a series of articles on the veracity of the tale, which was originally attributed to Army Gen. John Pershing as he was battling Muslim insurgents in the Philippines early in the 20th century.

Most experts seem to doubt Pershing actually said that or followed such a policy, though some experts said it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that some U.S. military leaders either suggested or even followed through on it.

Judge Chuang’s ruling follows one by another Obama appointee to the federal court in Hawaii on Tuesday. Judge Derrick K. Watson also issued a nationwide injunction on the revised travel ban.

The Justice Department has vowed to appeal.

Both Judge Chuang and Judge Watson had ruled earlier versions of the travel ban unconstitutional, and both were upheld by appeals courts — though the Supreme Court reversed them in large part.

The Trump administration conducted a months-long review of nearly 200 countries’ information-sharing policies with the U.S. to construct the latest travel ban. In the end, one country was dropped from the previous list while three countries were added. The list now covers: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

The orders by Judge Chuang and Judge Watson still allow the restrictions to go into effect for North Korea and Venezuela, the two countries on the list that aren’t majority-Muslim.

Senate Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to stop the president’s travel ban altogether, declaring his policy illegal.

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