Trump points to travel ban after reports of London attacks

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump, flanked by members of law enforcement, speaks before signing bills in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House, Friday, June 2, 2017, in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump argued in favor of his controversial travel ban as London authorities responded to reports of a string of attacks Saturday night.

One tweet read: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

London authorities were investigating reports that a vehicle had hit pedestrians on London Bridge. Two other incidents also were reported, stabbings at nearby Borough Market and another incident in the Vauxhall area of the city.

Trump began tweeting about the incidents an hour or so after initial news reports. First, he retweeted a Drudge Report item about the attacks, then provided his own message about the travel ban.

A few minutes later Trump tweeted a message of support for Londoners: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

Lower courts have blocked the Trump policy, citing various reasons including statements Trump made during the 2016 campaign. The legal fight pits the president’s authority over immigration against what lower courts have said is a policy that purported to be about national security but was intended to target Muslims.

Trump later called Prime Minister Theresa May to offer condolences. The White House said the president “praised the heroic response of police and other first responders and offered the full support of the United States government in investigating and bringing those responsible for these heinous acts to justice.”

The State Department issued a statement condemning them as “cowardly.”

“The United States stands ready to provide any assistance authorities in the United Kingdom may request,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims. We wish a full and quick recovery to those injured in the attacks. All Americans stand in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,” she said.