“Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,...... protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer,” Trump wrote on Twitter just after 7:15 a.m. Monday.
In fact, Delta’s computer problems began a full 48 hours after Trump signed his executive order Friday afternoon. The airline’s IT systems went down about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, causing Delta to cancel 170 flights that evening and an additional 80 flights Monday, although the systems were restored by midnight Sunday, Delta said.
Trump, on Twitter, also sought to minimize the overall disruption, casting it as minimal but necessary. “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained in and held for questioning,” he wrote. “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”
However, according to a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, the number of people affected was slightly higher. In addition to the 109 people denied entry into the United States, 173 people at foreign airports had been prevented from boarding planes headed to the United States.
The DHS official, in a background briefing Saturday evening, also said that officers conducting case-by-case reviews of green-card holders had granted 81 waivers so far — a figure that contradicted a background briefing at the White House Sunday evening, where officials said that as of Sunday afternoon, 170 green-card holders had been detained, although all 170 were ultimately given waivers.
Trump’s executive order on refugees was slapdash and rushed, thrown together without any real consultation or implementation from the agencies tasked with enforcing the ban.
As protesters streamed into airports nationwide, travelers found themselves unexpectedly detained, and federal judges issued last-minute stays. The Trump administration struggled to explain the executive action and to, on a practical level, implement it.
At one point Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly issued a statement explaining that people with green cards subject to the ban would face easier entry in the country but would still undergo a “case-by-case” review. Kelly’s statement contradicted that of Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, who said earlier Sunday on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that green-card holders would not be affected — a statement that contradicted what other Trump officials had said just a day earlier.
Perhaps the clearest sign of the disarray was a scrambled background briefing for reporters Sunday evening, in which senior White House officials blamed the media and spoke on the condition of anonymity to declare, “It really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level.”
On Monday, Trump said that the rushed implementation was necessary for national security. “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week,” he tweeted. “A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
Then, just 12 minutes later, Trump moved onto his plans for the Supreme Court, writing on Twitter that he would officially announce his Supreme Court nomination Tuesday evening at 8 p.m.