President Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration was "totally prepared" for the fallout over the refugee executive order he signed on Friday and that "it's not a Muslim ban."
"Totally prepared," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office after signing three new executive actions. "It's working out very nicely.
"You see it at the airports, you see it all over.
"It's working out very nicely — and we're going to have a very, very strict ban.
"We're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years," Trump said.
President Trump's comments came amid a flurry of activity since he signed the refugee order on Friday, including the detaining of 12 people trying to enter the United States from majority-Muslim countries — and the freeing of one after lawyers and several advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court overnight challenging the action.
The three executive orders Trump signed Saturday included one that imposed a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for foreign governments and a five-year ban for other lobbying.
Other orders restructured the National Security Council and required Pentagon officials to present a plan to defeat the Islamic State within 30 days.
"I think it's going to be successful," Trump said of the ISIS order. "It's good stuff."
Regarding the lobbying ban, the president said that "this was a five-year ban I was talking about the campaign trail.
"We are putting it into effect."
Trump told supporters at rallies that those who wanted to work in his administration should focus on the job they would be doing for the American people — not on future income that could be earned by peddling their influence after serving in government.
"It's a two-year ban now," he said Saturday. "Full of loopholes.
"This is a five-year ban," he said, joking to staffers standing around him, "You have one last chance to get out."
He said that the order reorganizing the NSC "represents a lot — also a lot of safety.
"People have been talking about doing this for a long time," he added. "Like, many years."
Saturday's orders bring to 15 the number of executive directives that Trump has signed since his Jan. 20 inauguration.
Besides the refugee order, others have ranged from starting the process to repeal Obamacare to building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico to pulling the United States out of the Trans Pacific Partnership to authorizing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
But President Trump's refugee order remains the most controversial, banning travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries associated with terrorism for 90 days: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
It also suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halted the admission of refugees from Syria.
Federal agencies immediately enacted the directive — and 12 travelers from the affected countries were detained Friday as they tried to enter the United States at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The detentions led lawyers and advocacy groups to sue the Trump administration in an overnight filing in federal district court in New York challenging the order as unconstitutional and seeking the release of their clients.
One detainee, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who was traveling from Iraq with a valid U.S. visa, received a waiver from the White House and was released Saturday afternoon, his lawyer said.
Darweesh, who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Tehran, was detained Friday and held overnight, said his attorney, Mark Doss.
"We are very grateful that Mr. Darweesh has been released," Doss told reporters at JFK.
Eleven others remained in federal custody Saturday evening, he said.
"I'm very thankful and I'm very happy," Darweesh said after his release.
"America is the greatest nation," he added. "The greatest people in the world."
Democrats slammed the refugee order Saturday as a Muslim ban, while state officials vowed to contest the White House on the directive.
"The executive order signed by President Trump is discriminatory, discriminatory on religion and, frankly, quite disgusting," New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler said at JFK. "It's also counterproductive."
At Dulles International Airport in Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said that he had instructed his attorney general, Mark Herring, to "look at all avenues we have in Virginia" to challenge Trump's order.
"They talk about extreme vetting, but we don't even know what that means.
"Our message for the people here today — this is not the United States of America that we know — and we will not tolerate it,” McAuliffe said.
"We are open and welcoming to everyone."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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