White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer cited the fatal shooting of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, as a reason that President Donald Trump and his administration felt the need to rush out a chaos-causing executive order that bans travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries.
“What happened if we didn’t act and someone was killed?” Spicer asked the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Too many of these cases that have happened, whether you’re talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta... we act now to protect the future,” Spicer said.
One problem with Spicer’s explanation is that the San Bernardino attackers weren’t from any of the seven countries named in Trump’s executive order. Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, were a married couple with Pakistani roots. Farook was an Illinois-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent and his wife was a Pakistani immigrant who had also lived in Saudi Arabia.
Neither Pakistan nor Saudi Arabia are included in the executive order, though Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus said that ban could potentially expand to other countries going forward. Even then, the administration’s decision to single out people based on nationality ― a longstanding method used to ban entire religions or races from the U.S. ― is a major cause for concern.
Along with the constitutional crisis his order has caused, Trump also faces backlash for failing to adequately consult top officials and agencies about his plans. According to The New York Times, Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John F. Kelly was only in the middle of being briefed on the order when Trump signed it.