WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump lashed out at his own Justice Department Monday for seeking the Supreme Court's backing for a "watered down, politically correct version" of the travel he signed in March.
In a series of early morning tweets, Trump urged the Justice Department to ask for an "expedited hearing" at the high court and seek a "much tougher version" of the order temporarily blocking entry to the U.S. from several majority Muslim countries. He called the courts, which have blocked two versions of the travel ban, "slow and political."
It's unclear whether the president has conveyed his requests to the Justice Department, which he oversees, in a forum other than Twitter.
The president has renewed his call for the travel ban in the wake of the vehicle and knife attack in London that left seven people dead and dozens injured. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Last week, the Justice Department formally asked the Supreme Court to let a ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries and refugees from around the world to be put in place. The high court also is being asked to uphold the constitutionality of the Trump travel policy, which lower courts have blocked because, they say, it shows anti-Muslim prejudice.
The directive that would go before the Supreme Court is a narrower version of the executive order the president signed during his first week in office. The second order removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. An indefinite halt to entry from Syrian refugees was replaced by a temporary pause.
Trump's criticism came a day after he said he would do whatever is necessary to protect the United States from a "vile enemy" that he said has waged war on innocents for too long,. "This bloodshed must end, this bloodshed will end," he vowed. Trump was commenting Sunday evening on the vehicle and knife attack that killed at least seven people in London at the conclusion of a Sunday night fundraiser for Ford's Theater, scene of one of the most famous acts of bloodshed in American history: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Meanwhile, senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Monday condemned what she called the media's "obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president."
In an appearance on NBC's "Today Show," Conway said people should pay attention to what the president is doing, saying people in England had tried to inform authorities about the terrorists before the attacks happened. "If you're going to see something and say something, it has to be followed by, do something," she said. "And this president is trying to do something to protect the people of this country."
In the Ford's Theater speech Sunday evening, Trump said: "America sends our thoughts and prayers and our deepest sympathies to the victims of this evil slaughter and we renew our resolve, stronger than ever before, to protect the United States and its allies from a vile enemy that has waged war on innocent life, and it's gone on too long," Trump said in an appearance at a Ford's Theater event, his first comments in public on the attack late Saturday in a busy section of London. He previously had commented via a series of Twitter posts Saturday.
"As president, I will do what is necessary to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores and work every single day to protect the safety and security of our country, our communities and our people," he said.
Trump said he had spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May to express America's "unwavering support" and offer U.S. assistance as the British government works to protect its citizens and bring the guilty to justice.
After more than 20 people were killed in a bomb attack last month at a concert in Manchester, England, Trump condemned the assault as the act of "evil losers" and called on nations to band together to fight terrorism.
Earlier Sunday, Trump had criticized London's mayor after the mayor sought to reassure residents about a stepped-up police presence following the attack, the third in the country in past three months. Trump argued in a Twitter post for leaders to "stop being politically correct" and to focus on "security for our people."
The mayor's spokesman said he was too busy to respond to Trump's "ill-informed" tweet.