- Former chief strategist Steve Bannon said President Donald Trump’s first travel ban was signed on a Friday “so the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.”
- The confusion at major US airports caused by the travel ban was deliberate, Bannon said, according to an upcoming book.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said he pushed President Donald Trump to sign his original, ill-fated travel ban on a Friday afternoon when it would cause chaos at airports and draw huge numbers of protesters, according to an upcoming book about Trump’s first days in the White House.
The ban, which Trump signed on January 27, suspended all travel to the US from citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, contained no guidance on how Homeland Security officials should implement it, and was unclear on whether it applied to travellers with valid US visas or green cards.
The result was immediate pandemonium at airports across the country, during which time hundreds of travellers were detained for hours – in some cases days – as lawyers worked to secure their releases, DHS officials worked to determine whether they should be put on return flights, and furious protesters swarmed arrivals gates.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, fended off criticism and characterised the ban’s rollout as “a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level.”
Bannon wanted ‘snowflakes’ to riot
Bannon, according to Michael Wolff’s upcoming book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an excerpt of which was published Wednesday in New York Magazine, said the resulting chaos was deliberate.
The ban had been crafted by a small policy team of immigration hardliners, including Bannon and policy adviser Stephen Miller, and reportedly caught the DHS and Justice Department by surprise.
When asked by White House staff why the ban had been implemented so haphazardly, and on a Friday when airports would be busy and protesters would turn up en masse, Bannon reportedly said that was the point.
“So the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot,” he said, according to the book.
The White House has already sought to discredit Bannon’s comments, releasing a statement saying that Wolff’s book was “filled with false & misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”
Trump also rebuked Bannon’s account and said in a statement he has “nothing to do with me or my presidency.”
“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”