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Muslim Ban 2.0 Is About White Nationalism (and Other Things), Not National Security

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Trump’s Muslim ban, version 2.0 is out today, more or less the same as the old except Iraq has been taken off the list. The ban means that there is a 90-day moratorium on the issuance of new visas from citizens of six majority-Muslim countries.

Trump is likely to claim, as he has before, that the ban is about safety and that there is no intended “animus toward any religion“. But coverage related to the ban indicates that today’s executive order is actually about white nationalism, among other things that have nothing to do with national security.

Why Trump’s ban is not about securing the nation

  • As many have noted, not a single person from any of the six nations listed in the ban (or Iraq, the seventh country from the first ban) has committed a deadly terrorist attack.
  • There have been two separate leaked DHS memos finding no security rationale for banning citizens from those six countries. As one memo stated, “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
  • Today’s ban is scheduled to take effect in 10 days, contradicting Trump’s earlier claim that an executive action like this must be announced by surprise, lest all “the ‘bad’…rush into our country” between the announcement time of the EO and its implementation.
  • After some outlets gave Trump positive reviews of his joint address last week, Trump delayed the announcement of today’s ban so that he could bask in those reviews. “We want the [executive order] to have its own ‘moment,'” a White House official said — undercutting Trump’s claims that the travel ban was an immediate necessity to protect the safety of Americans.

Three things the Muslim ban is actually about

  • As we’ve written, the ban (and its authors) have white nationalist intentions, with Jeff Sessions/Steve Bannon/Steve Miller having explicitly stated that the goals of the executive order are to reshape America’s demographic trends for decades to come. Or as Trump himself said at CPAC four years ago: “why aren’t we letting people in from Europe?”
  • Senior advisor Steve Miller said that the ban would be reintroduced in part to demonstrate that Trump’s national security power “will not be questioned,” so it seems that the ban is also about emphasizing Trump’s desire to be an autocrat.
  • The ban was used as a pacifier for a Trump temper tantrum: a Washington Post story over the weekend noted how furious Trump was about the furor over Jeff Sessions’ conversations with Russian officials and how Sessions recused himself from an investigation into Russian influence. In the Post article, Sessions, Bannon, John F. Kelly, and Miller had dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, where they “tried to put Trump in a better mood by going over their implementation plans for the travel ban.” Which seems like a plan to keep Trump from further embarrassing himself and his administration — not a plan to improve the national security of the United States.