Citing London terrorist attack, US President Donald Trump calls for expansion of his travel ban

US President Donald Trump's travel ban blocked the entry of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - President Donald Trump weighed in on Friday (Sept 15) on an attack in London by a "loser terrorist" and used the episode to call for an expansion of his travel ban that has temporarily blocked entry into the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.

"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!" the president wrote on Twitter.

Mr Trump's assessment followed news of an explosion going off in a London subway car during the morning rush hour that injured at least 18 commuters and was labelled a terrorist attack by police.

"Another attack in London by a loser terrorist," Mr Trump said in a series of early morning tweets.

"These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!" Mr Trump added, referring to the police force in London.

In a subsequent tweet, Mr Trump said: "Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!"

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Mr Trump's travel ban blocked the entry of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. Officials have said the 90-day period will expire in less than two weeks, and Mr Trump will face a critical decision on what to do about the ban's future.

The Department of Homeland Security has been working on a report about countries that US authorities say do not provide adequate information to vet their travellers. That report could inform a more expansive measure that bars people from coming to the US.

Mr Trump's tweet seemed to envision such a "larger, tougher" ban, though he also said the measure needed to be "more specific" - which might indicate the White House is not inclined to bar people merely because of their nationality. The Homeland Security report is expected to be presented to the White House in the coming weeks.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on whether the travel ban is legal on Oct 10. But by that time, a critical portion of the directive will have expired and a new measure might be in place.

A person familiar with the ongoing discussions said a new ban might moot the Supreme Court case, but could spark new legal challenges. A permanent ban, in particular, might be harder to defend in court, the person said. It is also possible, though unlikely, that Mr Trump could merely let the ban expire.

In a later tweet on Friday (Sept 15) morning, Mr Trump took credit for progress during his administration in combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, asserting that more had been done in the past nine months than under his predecessor Barack Obama's eight years in office.

"Must be proactive & nasty!" Mr Trump wrote.

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