Thousand of New Yorkers headed out to John F. Kennedy airport Saturday evening to protest President Trump’s new executive order turning back refugees and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Word of the spontaneous demonstration was spread across social media, with activists like filmmaker Michael Moore calling out “Everybody in NYC area--- head to JFK Terminal 4 NOW.” By late afternoon, it appeared that more than 2,000 had heeded the call to protest, to the dismay of airport security struggling to keep the terminal clear for travelers.
Trump wants us at war w/ the entire Muslim world. Who wants to die for Donald J. Trump? Do YOU want 2 die 4 Trump? Everyone to JFK demo now!
One group chanted, “Let them in.” Another read out loud from the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed in the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ....’’
Iranian officials called the new U.S. limits on refugees and travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries a “clear insult to the Islamic world” and predicted the ban would be “a great gift to extremists and their supporters.”
In a statement on the Foreign Ministry website, the government of Iran vowed unspecified retaliatory measures and emphasized that the international community “needs dialogue and cooperation to address the roots of violence and extremism in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.”
Iran is one of seven countries—also including Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Iraq—whose residents are temporarily prevented from entering the United States until a new “extreme vetting” procedure can be put into place.
President Trump kept up his frenetic pace of executive action on Saturday by signing new directives that put his own imprint on the national security apparatus.
Trump signed executive actions to reorganize the National Security Council and to direct the joint chiefs of staff to present him with a plan to defeat the Islamic State terror organization, according to White House officials who have seen the documents and described their content to reporters.
He also issued a five-year ban preventing people who work for him from lobbying his administration after they leave it.
Confusion erupted Saturday in the the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries, and its potential impact on the ability of Iranian filmmaker and Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi to attend next month’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Farhadi, whose latest film “The Salesman” is nominated for best foreign language film, was considered likely to be barred under the new order, as president of the National Iranian American Council Trita Parsi tweeted on Friday: “Confirmed: Iran's Asghar Farhadi won't be let into the US to attend Oscar's.”
The tweet followed Trump’s order, which banned travel to the U.S. over the next 90 days from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The abrupt move also suspended all refugee arrivals from Syria.
For years Moscow has complained that Washington does not treat it as an equal. But in a statement released after President Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin talked by phone for the first time, the tone was decidedly upbeat.
Here’s the Russian government’s statement on the phone call:
“During the meeting, both sides had shown a disposition to actively work together on stabilization and development of Russian-American interaction -- in a constructive, equal and mutually beneficial basis.
It’s a day of world leader calls for President Trump, who held the first officially scheduled telephone conversation of his presidency with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Trump went into that call with high hopes for a “fantastic relationship,” as he put it the day before.
But longstanding American allies aren’t so upbeat about how things might now be heading in U.S.-Russian relations, and what it means for the transatlantic alliance. Trump’s Saturday to-do list also includes calls with the German chancellor and French president.
Congressional reaction to President Trump's orders banning refugees and immigrants from some Muslim countries from entering the country was swift and overwhelmingly critical among Democrats, while Republican leaders remained largely silent or accepting.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Trump had chosen a "dark path," while both Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said the Statue of Liberty had "tears."
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who had opposed Trump's proposed Muslim ban in 2016, accepted the president's move.
An undetermined number of longtime U.S. residents have been stranded overseas as a result of President Trump's executive order temporarily blocking visas from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
All visa holders from those seven countries are now barred entry to the U.S., including lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, people with U.S. work visas and other types of visas, according to a senior U.S. immigration official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Some of the affected countries, such as Yemen and Libya, have relatively few nationals who are U.S. permanent residents or visa holders. But a large number of Iranians have permanent residency in the U.S., as do smaller numbers from some of the other countries on the list, which includes Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Sudan.
President Trump is planning phone calls today with five world leaders as he begins to shape his administration's foreign policy and establish key relationships.
At 9 a.m Pacific time, Trump is expected to speak with Russia President Vladimir Putin.
Trump said Friday that having Russia as an ally "would be an asset." But many in the U.S. and abroad have been alarmed by Trump's unusually friendly references to Putin, whose annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to sanctions by the U.S. and others.