Citing Travel Ban, WH Says Protecting US From Terror Attacks Is Administration’s Top Priority

By Annabel Scott | June 19, 2017 | 6:07 PM EDT

President Trump disembarks from Marine One on the pre-commissioned aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia on March 2, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

( – Preventing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is the Trump administration’s top priority, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a press briefing Monday

Discussing the recent attacks overseas and the post-9/11 belief that “it’s not a matter of if, but when,” Spicer said President Trump and his cabinet, particularly Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, view terror attack prevention and domestic safety to be of the utmost importance.

“I know that both the president and Secretary Kelly in particular, as well as the NSC team, this is … their top priority.”

“The reason that the president has taken the actions that he has, including the travel ban,” he said, “ is to make sure that we’re looking at both enhancing and reading the intelligence piece, but taking steps to secure this country, to make sure that the people who are coming here are doing so with the intention of coming here peacefully.”

“Everything that we do, and the president does and Secretary Kelly does – obviously, [Defense] Secretary Mattis, [National Security Advisor] General McMaster, the entire team – is to protect the people and to make sure that there is not an attack here, and that not only do we prevent anything from happening on our homeland, but eradicate it where we can in places throughout the world.”

Spicer said Trump and his administration are doing everything in their power to protect people from attacks on our soil and abroad.

“He’s going to use every tool possible to make sure that we vet people, that we have the proper studies, that we use the proper tools and techniques,” said Spicer. “But yeah, we’re doing everything we possibly can.”

The “travel ban” cited by Spicer refers to executive orders, issued by the president in January and again in March, that barred entry for 90 days to most citizens of six terror-prone countries – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. (Iraq was included in the first order, but removed in the second one.)

Implementation of the orders, which also sought to block all refugees from entering the country for 120 days, has been held up by federal courts.

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