As Donald Trump prepares for a court showdown that could permanently overturn his immigration ban, revelations about his personal habits in the White House triggered an outraged response from the new President, and speculation about whether he owns a bathrobe.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Wednesday morning (AEST) in the Justice Department’s appeal to reinstate Mr Trump’s controversial travel ban.
But the President had other things to worry as he responded angrily to a New York Times front-page exposé that quoted unnamed White House insiders in offering a glimpse at his first two weeks in office.
The story includes an unflattering depiction of Mr Trump’s lifestyle in the White House, including a bathrobe-wearing President who has trouble working the light switches.
“When Mr Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home,” the NYT reported.
Mr Trump’s response was predictably swift and furious, dismissing the story as “total fiction”.
The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
When asked about the story and the President’s response, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the NYT report was littered with “blatant factual errors, and it’s unacceptable to see that kind of reporting”.
“That story was so riddled with inaccuracies and lies that they owe the President an apology for the way that thing was written,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Then Mr Spicer made the claim that sent social media abuzz.
“I don’t think the President wears a bathrobe, and definitely doesn’t own one,” he said.
Since Mr Spicer made that declaration, Twitter has been inundated with posts with photographic proof that the US President is not averse to bathrobes.
— Mashable (@mashable) February 7, 2017
— Yashar (@yashar) February 6, 2017
Among the other disputed insights included in the NYT story were claims that Mr Trump and his aides have at times literally been in the dark as they struggle to work the light switches in the cabinet room.
Visitors, meanwhile, reportedly conclude their meetings and then “wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit”.
Immigration ban appeal
The US Court of Appeals will hear arguments for and against the reinstatement of the Trump administration’s immigration ban from 10am Wednesday (AEST).
The Justice Department has urged the reinstatement of the executive order, saying the targeted travel ban was needed to ensure the nation’s safety.
Federal Judge James L Robart granted a temporary order reversing the ban on Friday in response to a request from Washington State Attorney-General Bob Ferguson.
The ruling sparked a rush by visa holders from the seven predominantly-Muslim countries affected to board US-bound flights, fearing they might have only a slim window through which to enter the country.
California was the latest of 15 US states to join the legal challenge on Tuesday in support of Washington state’s lawsuit that argues the directives targeting people from Muslim-majority countries are unconstitutional.
California joined Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
The Court of Appeals has received a torrent of court filings over the last 48 hours as “representatives of 15 states and the District of Columbia, law professors, civil rights groups and industry leaders implored a three-judge panel … to continue blocking the ban until the constitutional issues can be resolved”, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The court has scheduled an hour-long oral argument for the appeal.