Donald Trump Says ‘Negative Polls Are Fake News’
Opposition to President Trump’s travel restrictions on certain countries was mounting on Monday, but Mr. Trump remained defiant and unbowed.
■ Mr. Trump turned to Twitter early Monday and began challenging polls that showed his travel order was not popular.
■ A bipartisan group of former National Security Council officials also filed court documents opposing the ban.
■ The Justice Department corrected the record on how many people had visas canceled because of the travel ban.
The president defends himself on Twitter
Mr. Trump appears not to like the news he’s reading Monday morning.
In one Twitter post, the president rejected reports of polls showing that a majority of Americans oppose his travel order. In another, he appeared to lash out at suggestions that Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, holds the real power in the West Wing.
A CNN poll released over the weekend said that 55 percent of Americans viewed Mr. Trump’s travel order as an attempt to keep Muslims out of the country.
The president also seemed angry about the Mr. Bannon-in-charge story line, which was featured in a Time magazine article and in a “Saturday Night Live” skit showing Mr. Bannon as the Grim Reaper directing Mr. Trump’s activities in the White House.
On Twitter, Mr. Trump called the reports “fake news” that sought to marginalize him.
If you missed Mr. Trump talking to Bill O’Reilly of Fox News during the Super Bowl, you will have another chance tonight.
Another satisfied customer?
President Trump continued his screed against media coverage of him on Monday, training his fire at The New York Times in an apparent reaction to a portrait of his early stumbles published in Monday’s editions.
In a Twitter post, Mr. Trump appeared to be characterizing The Times’s coverage, which was based on interviews with several of his White House’s most senior officials and others aware of the administration’s inner workings, as “fiction” based on fabricated sources.
Mr. Trump has long delighted in denigrating The Times and claiming, falsely, that its coverage of him has led to declining readership. But in a meeting at The Times in November, he called the paper, which is among his first reads each morning, “a great, great American jewel.” Last week, the Times surpassed 3 million print and digital subscriptions, adding 276,000 net digital-only subscriptions to its news products in the last three months of the year, more additions than in 2013 and 2014 combined.
Tech companies are no friend of the travel ban
It’s official: Silicon Valley really, really despises Mr. Trump’s immigration order.
Overnight, 97 companies — most of them technology firms, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — filed a legal brief arguing that the ban is unconstitutional and harms the interests of American businesses.
The brief, filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is blunt and direct. The ban, it says, “hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace; and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations — and hire new employees — outside the United States.”
It is a remarkable statement of unity from the country’s technology companies, many of which rely heavily on foreign workers. And it is a shot across the bow for Mr. Trump, foreshadowing a rocky relationship with Silicon Valley leaders over the next four years.
National Security officials also oppose the ban
The companies were not the only ones joining in opposition. Susan E. Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, was among the leaders of a petition signed by a group of former National Security Council officials.
Justice Department corrects record on travel ban impact on visas
The Justice Department on Monday corrected the record on an attention-grabbing claim that one of its attorneys made in a Northern Virginia courtroom about the impact of President Trump’s executive order imposing a travel ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The government attorney provoked gasps in the courtroom when he told Judge Leonie Brinkema, one of the Federal District Court judges weighing legal challenges to Mr. Trump’s order, that more than 100,000 visas had been revoked as a result of the order — far more than had been understood to be the case.
That number, however, came under question later on Friday when a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs said that the real number was around 60,000 and the larger figure inaccurately included diplomatic visas that were not affected by the ban.
On Monday, the department submitted a filing to Judge Brinkema that corrected its statement in the court.
“In response to a question from this court as to how many individuals have been affected by the executive order, government counsel presenting oral argument, based on information he had received, stated that 100,000 visas had been provisionally revoked as a result of the executive order,” it said. “The Department of State has since provided undersigned counsel with a revised number, which is roughly 60,000 visas.”
Permanent campaign, confirmation edition
An outside, pro-Trump political group is adding veteran fund-raisers and Republican party strategists, and is also employing one of the president’s campaign ad-makers to try to ensure Senate confirmation of his remaining cabinet nominees.
The group, 45Committee, has signed Larry Weitzner, of Jamestown Associates, which produced most of Mr. Trump’s campaign ads in the general election. Mr. Weitzner’s first spot will air nationally this week, with a gauzy focus on the initial days of the Trump presidency.
It’s part of a $4 million effort, with three other ads focused specifically on the nominations of Betsy DeVos for education secretary, Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Tom Price for secretary of health and human services.
Some of those ads have been broadcast in states with critical races in the 2018 midterms. The other new advisers are Cara Mason, who worked as the finance director for the Trump Victory committee under Reince Priebus; Rob Collins, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director; Mike Shields, a former Republican National Committee chief of staff; and Rob Simms, a former National Republican Congressional Committee executive director.
With Mr. Trump’s administration still evolving, the 45Committee has moved in to fill the void supporting the White House as it finds itself besieged by critics.
Arpaio holds out the tin cup
Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff known for his uncompromising stance on illegal immigration, is back in the news, months after losing his bid for re-election.
Now he is asking supporters to help him raise $1 million for his legal defense fund. Mr. Arpaio faced numerous lawsuits alleging abuse and faulty medical care in several jails, and taxpayers in Maricopa County, where he was sheriff, spent tens of millions of dollars for his legal defense.
In his email, Mr. Arpaio blamed his re-election defeat on a host of enemies, including “leftist financier George Soros,” the American Civil Liberties Union and the Obama administration’s Justice Department.
Mr. Soros spent an estimated $2 million last year opposing Mr. Arpaio, and the Justice Department under President Barack Obama filed criminal contempt-of-court charges against the sheriff for refusing a judge’s order to stop discriminating against Latinos.
As the sheriff of Arizona’s largest county, Mr. Arpaio gained a national reputation for immigration raids that targeted heavily Hispanic neighborhoods in and around the Phoenix area.
Thousands of people were caught up in the raids, which were often done without any proof of criminal activity and which critics called racial profiling.