President Trump has refused to admit his controversial travel ban could affect Los Angeles’ (LA) bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
The US president made his remarks in a telephone interview with Jim Gray for Westwood One Sports radio ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl final.
The news comes at the same time as the remaining three cities in the running to host the Games submit their final host bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). These are Paris, LA and Budapest.
The travel ban, which Mr Trump signed on 27 January, halted all refugee admissions and temporarily barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
It sparked outcry, wide-spread condemnation and protests across the world. However on Friday (3 February), Seattle judge James Robart put a halt to the ban as it was argued that the executive order violated a clause in the US constitution that prohibits the favouring of one religion over another.
Last night, the US federal court rejected Mr Trump’s appeal to reinstate the ban.
Mr Trump said he gave the LA bid his endorsement “very loud and clear”.
“I would love to see the Olympics go to Los Angeles. I think that it would be terrific,” he said.
However he refused to admit that his recent executive order may have damaged the bid.
“We have to have security in our country. We have to know who’s coming into our country. We have to have people that are coming in with good intentions, Jim. If people are coming in with bad intentions, I want to be able to find out before they get here,” he said.
“You see what’s happened in other countries, you see what’s happened in our country. Take a look at so many different events, including the World Trade Center.
“So if people want to come into our country, they have to come in with good intentions. And we want to have strong borders. And we want to have extreme vetting, and we want to know what we’re doing, frankly.”
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Meanwhile the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) released a statement on 30 January to say it has had “a number of inquiries” about the executive order.
“Like the United States, the Olympic movement was founded based upon principles of diversity and inclusion, of opportunity and overcoming adversity,” said the statement.
“As the steward of the Olympic movement in the United States, we embrace those values.
“We also acknowledge the difficult task of providing for the safety and security of a nation.
“It is our sincere hope that the executive order as implemented will appropriately recognize the values on which our nation, as well as the Olympic movement, were founded.”
The statement added that the US government has advised the USOC it will work with them “to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions”.
H&H has contacted the LA2024 bid committee for comment.
The decision on the location of the 2024 Olympics will be made at an IOC election on 13 September.