Donald Trump has ominously pledged to announce “additional security for our country” next week, having said he won’t go to the Supreme Court to defend his Muslim ban.
Speaking at the White house during a visit by Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump gave no detail about the measures but US media have reported he will sign a new order similar to the one that the courts have struck down, which banned travel to theUS from seven Muslim countries.
During the Abe visit, he hinted his legal fight would continue but on Air Force One he told reporters: “We also have a lot of other options.”
In the latest embarrassing episode of Trump’s White House, the president seemed to wear no translation earpiece during Abe’s speech and pretend to laugh at jokes he couldn’t understand.
During a joint press conference on Friday, Trump said he had “no doubt” he would win in court over his Muslim ban, after an appeals court upheld a ruling it was unlawful.
“And ultimately I have no doubt that we’ll win that particular case,” he said, having tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT” after the appeals court’s verdict.
But he later
He also promised additional security steps were coming “rapidly” but gave no details.
“We are going to do whatever’s necessary to keep our country safe,” he said.
“We’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country... You’ll see something next week.”
Earlier in the day, he called the appeals court’s decision “disgraceful”.
NBC reported that Trump’s lawyers were working on a rewrite of the executive order that could win court approval.
The president and Shinzo Abe gave opening statements before taking questions.
Reporters noticed Trump had no earpiece in as Abe made opening statement at the press conference.
Trump later placed the earpiece in as the pair took questions, after Abe had spoken for around 15 minutes.
David Martosko, the Daily Mail’s US Political Editor, said he was sceptical of “earpiece-gate” but shared the video of the conference that showed Trump picking up the earpiece from the podium as the Q&A began.
CNN reported Trump laughed at jokes during Abe’s statement but was likely following the cue of White House staff who did have earpieces in.
“The president was standing there but he was not able to understand, likely, what the prime minister was saying... Several members of his staff and the vice-president didn’t either,” said Jeff Zeleny, the broadcaster’s senior White House correspondent.
“It wasn’t until after the questions got going that they seemed to realise they had these translator devices.
“So the president was laughing at the jokes at the beginning about playing golf and other things but he seemed to be following the cues of some advisors who had these earpieces in.”
Martosko said he wasn’t sure whether Trump had the earpiece in earlier, during the beginning of the press conference.
Either way, Trump doesn’t speak Japanese and really needed that translation.