WH spokesman: Trump called immigration action a ‘ban’ because the media used that word

Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Tuesday the policy wasn’t “a ban.”

Press Secretary Sean Spicer answers questions during a daily briefing at the White House, Feb. 9, 2017. President Donald Trump on Thursday met with airline executives and congressional leaders, as well as attending the swearing-in of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Doug Mills/The New York Times) Doug Mills / The New York Times

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a Tuesday briefing with reporters that President Donald Trump is only using the word “ban” to describe his executive action on immigration and refugees because the media is using the word.

“He’s using the words that the media is using,” Spicer said. Later, during a back-and-forth with reporters, he said: “It can’t be a ban if you’re letting a million people in. If 325,000 people from another country can come in, that is by nature not a ban. It is extreme vetting.”

Trump sent out a tweet Monday in which he referred to his executive action as “the ban.”

The executive action Trump signed last week suspends all immigration for citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It also halts the U.S. refugee program for four months.


On Monday, Spicer warned that officials at the State Department who disagree with the administration’s policy should “either get with the program or they can go.”

Later Monday, Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out his immigration executive order.