Trump press secretary defends travel ban

Sen Sean Spice said he was sorry that people were "inconvenienced"

Trump press secretary defends travel ban

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. | Image: Carolyn Kaster AP/Press Association Images

President Donald Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended new restrictive immigration policies. 

At his first press conference since the so-called 'travel ban' was introduced Mr Spicer said that for the Trump administration is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect American citizens.

He also blasted State Department staffers who are circulating a “dissent channel memo” against the president’s immigration executive order.

“These career bureaucrats have a problem with it?” he said. “I think they should either get with the program or they can go.”

"I think this [the executive order] has been blown way out of proportion and exaggerated," Mr Spicer said, apologisng to those who had been "mildly inconvenienced".

Holocaust statement

During the press conference, Mr Spicer became agitated when questioned about President Trump's omission of the word 'Jews' in his Holocaust Memorial Day statement.

President Donald Trump "went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust," Mr Spicer said, referring to the statement released by Trump's White House press office.
 
"The statement was written with the help of someone who is both Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors," Mr Spicer said.
 
The White House faced criticism after releasing the statement without referencing the Holocaust's Jewish victims. On Monday, Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) tweeted that omitting a reference to Jews from the statement was "an historical mistake."  

Obama

A spokesman for former president Barack Obama said that he "is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country".

The statement adds: “Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake."

However, he rejects comparisons to his own foreign policy, saying: "With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion."