Public pressure is mounting on Congressional leaders after Donald Trump issued his racist, xenophobic, and idiotic executive order. The order, signed on Friday, bars refugees, immigrants or green card holders from entering the United States if they come from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Sudan and Yemen.
Shortly after the issue, plans arriving across the United States’ busiest airports carrying Syrian families, international students, and dual-citizens were met with hostile authorities. Either sent back on the next flight out, detained for hours on end, and belittled by federal agents, Muslim refugees were subject to the wrath of Donald Trump.
At first, only the Democrats (not surprisingly) spoke out. But as public outcry grew into spur-the-moment rallies across the United States, Republicans were forced to take notice.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a centrist who refused to support Trump during the campaign, spoke out first, saying in a press release:
The worldwide refugee ban set forth in the executive order is overly broad and implementing it will be immediately problematic. [It] could interfere with the immigration of Iraqis who worked for American forces in Iraq as translators and bodyguards — people who literally saved the lives of our troops and diplomats during the last decade and whose lives are at risk if they remain in Iraq … As I stated last summer, religious tests serve no useful purpose in the immigration process and run contrary to our American values.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who refused to endorse Trump, lambasted the Administration for lacking “wisdom” with the action:
There are two ways to lose our generational battle against jihadism by losing touch with reality. The first is to keep pretending that jihadi terrorism has no connection to Islam or to certain countries. That’s been a disaster. And here’s the second way to fail: If we send a signal to the Middle East that the U.S. sees all Muslims as jihadis, the terrorist recruiters win by telling kids that America is banning Muslims and that this is America versus one religion. Both approaches are wrong, and both will make us less safe. Our generational fight against jihadism requires wisdom
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also refused to endorse Trump, blasted the executive action as “unacceptable,” saying:
President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry. Enhancing long term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed view of radical Islamic terrorism without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslim.
Arizona’s other (and more hawkish) Senator, John McCain, took to Facebook to denounce the order, joining with Senator Lindsey Graham, writing:
Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.
When you’ve lost John McCain, you know there’s a problem. Although the sentiments expressed by the Senate Republicans are accurate and reflect what should be shared by 100% of their caucus, their words come a little too late. It became apparent that Trump’s chief adviser, Steve Bannon, had his grubby, racist little hands all over it. Rudy Giuliani admitted on Fox News that Donald Trump knows this is a Muslim ban – he wanted one in the most “legal” way possible. Yet he continues to insist it is not a Muslim ban.
What the Republicans also fail to note (or admit) is that the ban is just flat out racist.
It’s a good start, nut statements won’t do a thing. It’s time for them to come together with the Democrats to pass meaningful legislation and send a real message to the Trump White House.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images