Trump’s White House: Five takeaways from Friday

Washington: With the first two weeks of his presidency behind him, Donald Trump arrived Friday at his luxury Mar-a-Lago Florida estate, dubbed the “Winter White House,” where he will spend the weekend.

The president’s long day included slapping new sanctions on Iran and announcing plans to take an ax to a landmark financial reform bill. A few hours before midnight, the White House issued a pledge to fight a judge’s order temporarily halting Trump’s controversial traveler ban.

Here are five takeaways from Friday’s events in Washington:

– Travel ban halted –

The White House vowed to fight back late Friday after a federal judge in Seattle ordered a temporary nationwide halt to Trump’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Press secretary Sean Spicer called Trump’s executive action “lawful and appropriate” and said the Department of Justice would request an emergency stay of the federal court order filed earlier in the day.

“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” Spicer said.

– Iran sanctions –

The US president slapped fresh sanctions on Iran’s weapons procurement network, provoking an angry response from Tehran in what is an increasingly tense stand-off.

“Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!” Trump tweeted.

The fresh US measures were in response to Iran’s latest ballistic missile test and its support for Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen who in the past week targeted a Saudi warship, US officials said.

– Dodd-Frank goes under knife –

The landmark Dodd-Frank financial reforms adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis were aimed at curbing risky excesses by Wall Street investors that led to the “Great Recession.”

On Friday, Trump — who frequently vowed on the campaign trail that he would get rid of Dodd-Frank — ordered a review of the law, telling business leaders: “We expect to cut a lot out of Dodd-Frank.”

“I have friends who can’t start businesses because the banks wouldn’t let them borrow because of rules and regulations and Dodd-Frank.”

Critics claim the legislation created red tape that stifles the finance industry.

– Visa numbers out –

The United States has revoked up to 60,000 travel visas since Trump ordered a ban on visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries, the State Department said.

“We recognize that those individuals are temporarily inconvenienced while we conduct our review under the Executive Order,” Will Cocks, spokesman for the department’s bureau of consular affairs said.

A Justice Department attorney, however, told a court hearing in Virginia that about 100,000 visas had been revoked.

A week ago, Trump issued an executive order halting arrivals for at least 90 days for the citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

All refugee arrivals from around the world were also halted, in this case for 120 days.

– Bannon brigade –

Fifty Democratic members of Congress wrote a letter to Trump demanding he explain his placement of controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon on the National Security Council despite lacking formal foreign policy experience.

Trump caused an uproar last weekend when he issued a memorandum that reorganized the NSC to elevate Bannon onto the Principals Committee and to relegate the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence to roles where they only attend when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise” are discussed.

Agence France-Presse