Why is terrorist hotbed Saudi Arabia being exempted from the travel ban, while relatively safer countries like Iran are included?
If you look at it from an engineering standpoint, it looks backwards. The ban ought to apply more forcefully to countries that pose a higher risk.
But in the real world, we can't just wave a magic wand and immediately ban Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey, which have wealthy, powerful lobbies in our own country who have compromised key figures at the national level (John McCain being the most egregious example -- the Saudis only love Crooked Hillary Clinton more).
Trump is a pragmatist dealing with real-world relationships, so first he's going after the countries that have no way of retaliating against us, and which do not have powerful lobbies for defense. Failed or anarchic states like Libya, Iraq, Somalia, etc.
Who knows how long it will take to get around to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but based on how swiftly the Trump team has been moving since before the inauguration, we should not expect them to keep kicking the can down the road.
Notice that he did not include peaceful states like Jordan and Lebanon, let alone more powerful allies like Egypt, with whose leader he's struck up a good relationship.
He could also be using the ban on visas from peaceful Iran as more of a negotiating tactic, since he's long promised to re-negotiate the Iranian nuclear deal, or at least show them that they can't taunt us and seize our sailors without any consequences.
You should only address the need to move from weaker to stronger terrorist-prone countries with those who are arguing in good faith about "Why Trump's ban gets the risks backwards". Michael Tracey types. If it's just an idiot trying to play gotcha games, then just ridicule them by saying, in a whiny voice, "Anyone who doesn't wanna get blown up by terrorists is an Islamophobe!"
In general, we will see the pragmatic Trump administration begin with what is easy to solve, and progress toward harder tasks later. Hence deporting the violent criminal illegals first, and getting around to DACA illegals afterward.
Some have said that Trump has come out all guns a-blazing on multiple fronts, but they have all been easy tasks to go after -- repeal disastrous Obamacare, deport violent illegals, de-fund sanctuary cities, ban travel from anarchic Middle Eastern countries that can't fight back, and so on.
As the tasks get harder and harder, we probably won't see such a multi-front war against Establishment lunacy. Banning travel from Saudi Arabia will be easier if Trump and his supporters have more time to build up the revelation about their role in 9/11, Salafism (still not a common word for the American public), and so on. More details could come out from the 9/11 Congressional report.
Then after we knock that one out, we can move on to another difficult task, like birthright citizenship, which will also take awhile for the administration and its supporters to build the case against it (not desirable, not in Constitution), and how outta-whack it has made the country.
Trump may not need "political capital" since he did not get into office thanks to politicians. But he does need voter capital, and voters are only already aware of so many problems, and already howling for solutions to so many of them. Trump will not have to schmooze and woo politicians, but he will have to inform the general public on the role Saudi Arabia plays in spreading radical Islam, the absence of birthright citizenship in the Constitution -- indeed, in any other country's laws -- and the like.
The good news is that Trump is the world's most expert explainer to a general audience, so at worst the pace slows from a major win every day to every week or month. Still plenty of time to deliver on the campaign promises, and more.
I'm not a believer in 50-dimensional chess theory whenever something appears to be going the wrong way. That's Panglossian wishful thinking. In Trump's case, though, it may simply mean that he's putting the easy tasks first and tough tasks later. I don't want to hear any 50-D chess explanations about why Saudi Arabia should not be on the travel ban list -- it's just dealing with our problems in increasing levels of difficulty.