President Trump used the word "ban" in a tweet as recently as Monday to describe his new executive order suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting the refugee program for several months.
But facing backlash from many directions, the White House adamantly insisted Tuesday that the word is verboten.
"This is not a ban," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in a fiery news briefing.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday stood by President Trump's temporary ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and indicated that he was confident the administration could fix the "confusing" rollout without action from Congress.
"What is happening is something we support," said Ryan, whose office was the target of a sit-in by protesters opposed to Trump's order. "We need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country."
Congress was blindsided by Trump's executive action -- Ryan learned about it as the public did when the White House announced it Friday afternoon. Many GOP lawmakers have raised concerns.
Even as confusion, internal dissent and widespread condemnation greeted President Trump’s travel ban and crackdown on refugees this weekend, senior White House aides say they are only getting started.
Trump and his aides justified Friday’s executive order, which blocked travel from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days and halted refugees from around the world for 120, on security grounds — an issue that they say they take seriously. But their ultimate goal is far broader.
Trump’s top advisors on immigration, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller, see themselves as launching a radical experiment to fundamentally transform how the U.S. decides who is allowed into the country and to block a generation of people who, in their view, won’t assimilate into American society.
Corporate America generally prefers to stay quiet about partisan politics. Pick one side of a hot-button issue, the thinking goes, and you'll risk losing customers on the other side.
But like so many norms before it, President Trump has turned this one on its head.
A growing number of companies are deciding it's a bigger risk to their investors and bottom line to stay quiet than it is to protest Trump's ban on refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, betting vocal opposition to the executive order scores them a moral and fiscal victory.
Bannon has said he’s a 'Leninist' but he’s really more of a Trotskyist because he fancies himself the leader of an international populist-nationalist right wing movement, exporting anti-'globalist' revolution. In that role, his status as an enabler of Trump’s instinct to shoot — or tweet — from the hip seems especially ominous.
The White House says President Trump will leave intact a 2014 executive order that protects federal workers from anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
In a statement released early Tuesday, the White House said Trump "is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community" and that he "continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election."
The Trump administration has vowed to roll back much of President Obama's work from the last eight years and had been scrutinizing the 2014 order. The directive protects people from LGBTQ discrimination while working for federal contractors.