Lee Greenwood sang ‘God Bless the U.S.A’ – in person, not on tape – and Donald Trump delivered a campaign-style speech Wednesday to a Nashville, Tennessee crowd that came hungry for red meat.
The leader of the free world did not disappoint, pledging to beat back a torrent of attacks on his travel ban executive order coming from federal judges in the liberal Ninth Circuit.
The day’s news cycle got quickly away from the White House when a federal judge in Hawaii put a halt to the Trump administration’s second attempt to curb incoming travel from a half-dozen of the world’s 50 Muslim-majority countries.
Trump had words for U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, calling his action ‘in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.’
‘We’re going to fight this terrible ruling. We’re going to take this case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court,’ he vowed.
‘We’re going to win and we’re going to keep our citizens safe. Believe me.’
The order Watson put on pause, he recalled, ‘was a watered-down version of the first order, that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with.’
‘I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way,’ the president said, going off script.
‘The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear. We’re never quitting, we’re never going away, we’re never, ever giving up.’
The president’s rally was to be a defense of the Republican congressional blueprint for replacing the Obamacare medical insurance overhaul law.
He will hold another rally Monday night in nearby Kentucky, the home state of Sen. Rand Paul – who has emerged as one of the GOP’s fiercest opponents to ‘Trumpcare,’ saying that it falls short of a complete legislative repeal.
PHOTO: US District Jude Derrick K. Watson has ruled that Trump’s latest ban is unconstitutional
But Watson’s ruling, which is binding on the administration, threw a monkey wrench in the works by declaring that Trump was discriminating on the basis of a religious test.
The executive order stalled the president’s second attempt to suspend admission of nearly all refugees for 120 days, and to restrict visas for nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days
Early on Thursday, US District Judge Theodore Chuang issued a nationwide preliminary injunction in a similar case in Maryland brought by refugee resettlement agencies represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center.
Chuang ruled that the agencies were likely to succeed in proving that the travel ban portion of the executive order was intended to be a ban on Muslims and, as a result, violates the U.S. Constitution’s religious freedom protection.
Trump began his windup in Nashville with the first of many attacks on reporters, whom he continued to call ‘the most dishonest people.’
‘I would much rather spend time with you than any of the pundits, consultants or special interests, certainly or reporters from Washington, D.C.,’ he said.
Trump later bashed the ‘bad, fake media’ for what he anticipated would be negative reporting on his speech.
A single protester disrupted the event with a sign calling him a ‘liar.’
‘One person!’ Trump marveled. ‘And they’ll be the story tomorrow.’
He also bristled at ‘fake news’ reports that he was hedging on his pledge to build a wall on the border.