|President Donald J. Trump delivered a fiery speech at a campaign rally at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday, March 15. He strongly criticized a federal court ruling blocking his second attempt at an executive order temporarily suspending immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries and the resettlement of all refugees. Photo by Rick Musacchio|
President Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Nashville, vowed to fight the latest court ruling blocking his executive order temporarily suspending immigration from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees all the way to the Supreme Court.
“We’re going to fight this terrible ruling,” the president told a crowd of cheering supporters in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium on Wednesday, March 15. “The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear.”
Before the rally, the president visited the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, and laid a wreath at his grave in honor of the 250th anniversary of the seventh president’s birthday.
Earlier in the day, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order against Trump’s travel ban. In his order, the judge ruled that the government had not proved that the ban was needed to protect the country from terrorists trying to infiltrate the country through legal immigration or the refugee program.
A second federal judge, this one in Maryland, also blocked the order before it was to take effect March 16 at midnight. The Department of Justice announced March 17 it will appeal the Maryland ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Virginia.
|Thousands of people took to the streets of Nashville on Wednesday, March 15, to protest President Trump as he visited the city to honor President Andrew Jackson on his 250th birthday and hold a campaign rally downtown. Protestors’ signs championed a variety of causes from health care to immigration to workers’ rights to questioning the president’s ties with Russia, and more. Photo by Theresa Laurence|
The travel ban would have barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the nation for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. It was the Trump administration’s second attempt at implementing a travel ban. The first was overturned by a federal judge.
During the rally, the president said his administration is “working night and day to keep our nation safe from terrorism. … For this reason, I issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from places it cannot safely occur.”
“They best way to keep … radical Islamic terrorists from attacking our country is to keep them from coming to our country in the first place,” Trump said. “This ruling makes us look weak, which we no longer are.”
The travel ban was one of several issues the president addressed in his speech, which touched on a broad swath of topics and was very much in the style of his campaign rallies during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The president aligned his agenda with that of Andrew Jackson. “He understood real leadership means putting America first.”
“We’ve been putting very much our America First agenda into action,” Trump said. “We have just gotten started. Wait till you see what’s coming folks.”
Before the ruling on the travel ban was announced, the president was expected to speak in support of the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. But it was nearly 30 minutes into the speech before Trump brought up the Republicans’ repeal and replace effort.
Earlier in the week, the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the bill, which projected that the bill would trim the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years, but would leave 24 million fewer people covered by health insurance by 2026. The bill would remove the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty and would also end the expansion of the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The changes in the Medicaid program under the American Health Care Act would lead to 14 million more people without insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“At the core of Obamacare was a fatal flaw, forcing people to buy a government approved health care plan,” Trump said. “We want Americans to be able to buy the health insurance plan they want, not the plans forced on them.”
Despite fierce debate over the bill among Republicans in Congress, the president predicted the bill would pass. “And then we go on to tax reduction, which I like.”
Trump touched on several other areas of his agenda, including cutting government regulations on businesses, cutting the budget while increasing spending for defense, pulling the U.S. out of several trade agreements, and building a wall along the country’s southern border.
“Don’t even think about it. We will build the wall,” Trump said.
The president’s speech was interrupted only once by a protestor, who was shouted down by Trump supporters.
The appearance at Municipal Auditorium was organized and paid for by the president’s re-election campaign
While the president spoke inside Municipal Auditorium, touting his accomplishments during his first few months in office, thousands of protestors took to the streets of downtown Nashville to stand up for causes they believed in, including healthcare access, immigrant and refugee rights, workers’ rights, and more.
The protests were largely peaceful, if spirited, with a few heated exchanges between protestors and Trump supporters who had waited outside in line in near-freezing temperatures for hours to get into the auditorium; Metro Nashville Police reported a few arrests.
Along with anarchists dressed in black, Planned Parenthood supporters in bright pink hats, and thousands of other Trump protestors, people of faith were on hand protesting Trump’s policies.
Bobbi Negron, a teacher at St. Bernard Academy in Nashville and co-founder of Workers’ Dignity, a nonprofit organization that helps low-wage workers, many of whom are Latino, stand against wage theft and workplace abuses, attended the rally with her husband and toddler son. “We’re here because our neighbors and friends are living in fear. They don’t know if they will be picked up and deported,” she said.
As a Puerto Rican-American, Negron said she felt it was her duty to stand up for immigrants, especially the undocumented and Muslims, who are feeling particularly targeted right now. “We practice what we believe,” she said. “You have to come out and show up.”
Michele Johnson, a parishioner at Christ the King Church and executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that helps people gain access to health care, had a busy day engaging with Trump supporters as they waited in line to get into Municipal Auditorium. Holding a sign that said “Tell me your health care story,” she heard from a number of people concerned about health care issues. “They, just like the folks we help every day, just desperately want elected officials to govern and to stop playing politics, to roll up their sleeves and solve these problems,” she said.
Johnson said it was important for her to be present at the Trump rally and protest “because I believe in the basic goodness of all people and my faith calls me to try and find the light in all people. My faith calls me to work hard to make our policies reflect Catholic social teaching that everyone is a child of God and no one should suffer and die needlessly because of politics or greed. We all matter. Now our health policies need to reflect that. Until they do, I’ll keep working.”