On Monday, a federal appeals court voted to uphold the block on Donald Trump’s travel ban, citing one of Trump’s own tweets in its reasoning. The ban would’ve blocked refugees from six countries from entering the US. In the court’s opinion, the second version of the travel ban—which Trump himself tweeted was a “watered down, politically correct version” of the original—neither justifies targeting those countries nor clears the legal bar of not being discriminatory against people entering from those countries.
The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the president’s executive order “does not provide a rationale explaining why permitting entry of nationals from the six designated countries under current protocols would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” According to the court, one of Trump’s tweets from June 5th “confirmed” the president’s apparent belief “that it is the ‘countries’ that are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries.”
If it’s those countries that are dangerous and not the people themselves, the court essentially asked, why would admitting them be a danger to the US? At Monday’s press briefing, Sean Spicer vowed the administration would continue the fight to implement a version of the ban.
In recent days, Trump’s Twitter account has been under increasingly serious scrutiny. Last Tuesday, Spicer said that Trump’s tweets are, in fact, official White House statements. That same day, a civil rights group argued that Trump’s Twitter account is functionally a federal space and that blocking his critics violates their First Amendment rights. And on Monday, an Illinois congressman introduced legislation to make the president’s social media posts subject to federal record keeping laws.
It’s small comfort, but nearly everything Trump does on Twitter is now being held against him in a court of law.