In a Wall Street Journal column headlined "Amateur Hour at the White House," Karl Rove said President Donald Trump mismanaged the travel ban rollout.
"The details of the president's executive order — as well as the timing and the confusion that accompanied the rollout — are disconcerting," said Rove, who served as senior adviser to President George W. Bush.
He noted "chaos and controversy predictably followed" with thousands of protesters showing up at airports and lawyers rushing to courthouse challenges the order.
"Now imagine if the president had waited and implemented the policy carefully and deliberately. Mr. Trump, surrounded by the secretaries of Homeland Security and state, delivers a presidential speech. He announces the immediate suspension of new visas for travelers from the seven listed countries, and explains clearly why they were chosen.
"He directs the secretaries to develop 'extreme vetting' standards within 90 days, while halting Syrian refugee flows indefinitely."
Rove said Trump could have also announced that current visa holders from the seven countries would still be able to travel to the U.S., but would face additional monitors upon arrival. And Trump could have added none of these new rules apply to green-card holders.
"It's conceivable White House aides wanted controversy, believing it helps the president by provoking hysteria among political opponents and the press," he said. "But if Mr. Trump's critics looked bad, he came off poorly too."
He noted the controversy will soon subside and said Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court will now "grab the headlines." But he cautioned the White House should learn from its mistakes.
"Next time, the stakes could be much higher, with graver consequences for the Trump presidency and the country," Rove said.
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