US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his decision to impose travel restrictions on people from seven Muslim-majority countries was aimed at keeping "bad people" out of America even as he dismissed the raging debate over his controversial move as irrelevant.

"Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country," he tweeted.

Trump signed an executive order on Friday to block refugees from entering the US for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations away for three months.

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are the countries impacted.

Earlier, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had dismissed the idea that Trump imposed a ban.

"A ban would mean people can't get in, and we've clearly seen hundreds of thousands of people come into our country from other countries," he had said on Tuesday.

But both Spicer and Trump have recently referred to the executive order as a ban, CNN reported.

Trump tweeted earlier this week in defense of his order, "If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the 'bad' would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad 'dudes' out there!" 

If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the "bad" would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad "dudes" out there! 

Spicer had used the term ban to describe the order when describing it on Monday while speaking at an event at George Washington University recorded on C-SPAN.

Trump's decision has led to nation-wide protests and even triggered international condemnation.