White House chief of staff Reince Priebus got into a contentious interview with NBC News host Chuck Todd during an interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday over a discussion on President Donald Trump's recent executive order on immigration.
Todd came out of the gate and pressed Priebus over why the administration didn't implement a 72-hour "grace period" with their executive order to ensure that airport detainments didn't happen and that any refugee in transit to the U.S. with a valid U.S. visa would be able to safely arrive stateside.
Priebus replied by saying that terrorists would exploit the grace period, which is why it's better to just "rip off the band-aid," Priebus said.
Todd continued to press Priebus on the details of the executive order, which, signed by Trump on Friday, temporarily halts the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days and temporarily bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Todd inquired why the executive order also applied to green card holders from those countries, which are legal U.S. residents. The policy was condemned in the media over the weekend, but Priebus explained that those seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia — were actually identified by the Obama administration as the seven most dangerous countries that harbor terrorism.
"This is something that 75 to 80 percent of Americans out there agree with," Priebus said. "We don't want people traveling back and forth to one of these seven countries that harbor terrorists to be traveling freely back and forth between the United States and those countries."
After some back-and-forth, Todd began grilling Priebus over the constitutionality of adding another "hurdle" for green card holders to jump over when traveling out of the U.S. But when Priebus attempted to answer, Todd kept interrupting him.
"If you had just slowed down for a second and listen, I could answer your question," Priebus said.
"You've twice confused me so I’m just trying to understand the clarity," Todd shot back.
"It’s because you don’t stop talking, Chuck," Priebus snapped. "Let me answer the question."
The duo continued to argue back-and-forth over green card holders and Trump's executive order. Todd also grilled Priebus over why Saudi Arabia and Pakistan weren't included in the list of countries whose people would be temporarily banned from entering the U.S.
"Perhaps other countries need to be added," Priebus said. "But this is all done for the protection of Americans."
Priebus explained that the seven countries in the executive order were targeted first because they have been identified multiple times by Congress and the Obama administration as being the countries that pose the great threat to American in terms of terrorism.
Watch the full interview below: