On Sunday evening, President Donald Trump signed the latest version of his odious travel ban. And judging by some eye-opening reporting and some of Trump’s own comments, it’s clear that the new version of the ban has been put together with the classic Trump blend of sinister arbitrariness.
The latest order has expanded the list of nations affected to include Venezuela, North Korea, and Chad. Chad’s inclusion in the new ban has been something of mystery for many observers, who question why a country widely seen in the diplomatic community as a reliable ally for the United States was now being blacklisted. In fact, according to a report by the New York Times on Tuesday, Chad was added to the ban over the objections of Pentagon and State Department officials—one of whom called the decision “puzzling.”
“To me, what they did makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, none, zero,” former U.S ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell told the Times.
So why was Chad included on the list? According to several sources who spoke with the Times, it was none other than senior White House adviser and white supremacist Stephen Miller, along with acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who spearheaded the push for Chad’s place in this latest iteration of the travel ban. And because they randomly wanted it, they got it.
But while Chad may have landed on Trump’s “no” list, Sudan—a country regularly listed as among the worst human rights violators on the planet—was dropped from this latest iteration of the ban. When asked on Wednesday why, President Donald Trump demonstrated a clear and incisive grasp on his own newly signed policy:
Well, the people—yeah, the people allowed certain countries—but we can add certain countries very easily and we can take countries away.
When pressed by reporters on what specifically Sudan had done to merit its removal from the list, Trump added:
As far as the travel ban is concerned, whatever it is, I want the toughest travel ban you can have.
Sounds like the administration is definitely on top of things.