Washington GOP congress members won’t say if they support or oppose Trump’s immigration ban.
Washington Democrats took no time in condemning President Trump’s executive banning refugees loud and long.
Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the order “un-American and unconstitutional” and said he and other attorneys general were exploring legal options to oppose it.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, released statements blasting the order, while Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Suzan DelBene, both Democrats, joined Inslee at Sea-Tac, where about 1,000 people protested Saturday, to denounce the order.
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Washington’s congressional Republicans, on the other hand, have been notably noncommittal on the executive order, which temporarily bans immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries and all refugees.
What do Washington’s congressional Republicans — Reps. Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers — have to say about the executive order?
None would say whether they support or oppose it, although Herrera Beutler called for the administration to “take quick action” and Newhouse called for “review” of the order.
Herrera Beutler was vaguely critical of the order, without saying she opposed it or calling for any specific changes.
“Our nation should be able to uphold its tradition of allowing those law-abiding foreign nationals — some of whom have put their own lives on the line to provide assistance to the U.S. on the battlefield — to proceed with their journeys,” she said.
“Surely there is a way to enhance the security at our borders without unnecessarily detaining innocent individuals who have followed the rules, stood in line, and pose no threat to our country, and I hope this administration takes quick action to ensure that we’re focused only on those who pose a threat to our safety,” she said.
Newhouse wouldn’t say whether he supported or opposed the order but said the way it is being implemented at airports is resulting in people “having their lives needlessly disrupted.”
“It is reasonable to conduct a review of prospective and existing visa holders and refugees to make sure they do not pose a security risk,” Newhouse said. “I encourage the administration to review its order in consultation with its national security team to ensure our enforcement resources are being targeted where they can be most effective and to allow those law-abiding green card holders and visa holders who clearly aren’t a threat to security to return to their jobs and communities here in America.”
The executive order initially blocked legal permanent American residents (green card holders) from the seven affected countries from returning to the U.S. if they had left the country. But on Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, appeared to reverse that position, saying that “moving forward” green card holders would not be affected.
Reichert sent a prepared statement in which he called the United States “the most compassionate nation and greatest force of good in the world,” but took no position on the executive order banning refugees.
He was, however, critical of its implementation.
“Careful vetting to ensure the safety of the American people is the responsibility of the federal government and one I take very seriously,” Reichert said. “Unfortunately what we’ve seen this weekend is mass confusion and miscommunication between government agencies and the improper apprehension of people legally allowed to be in the U.S.
“I urge the administration to work with Congress on solutions that protect our borders while maintaining our nation’s dedication to compassion and religious freedom.,” he said.
McMorris Rodgers, in a brief statement, offered no opinion on the order.
Nationally, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina issued a statement on Sunday that said Trump’s order was not properly vetted and could be seen as the United States turning its back on Muslims who risked their lives to serve as interpreters for U.S. military and diplomats.
“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism,” they said, adding “That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
McCain also said the plan was carried out without proper consultation of U.S. allies and mistakenly lumped together the country’s adversaries, like Iran, with allies, like Iraq.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, likewise questioned the hastiness of the order’s rollout and called for a re-evaluation of the White House’s unilateral effort.
“You have an extreme vetting proposal that did not get the vetting it should have had,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., the majority leader, did not criticize the order itself but said the country needed to “be careful” with how it is carried out Sunday.
“I don’t want to criticize them for improving vetting,” McConnell said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think we need to be careful. We don’t have religious tests in this country.”
He added, “It’s hopefully going to be decided in the courts as to whether or not this has gone too far.”
It’s the second time in Trump’s short tenure that Washington’s congressional Republicans have declined to take a position on his controversial actions. None would comment last week on Trump’s false claim that more than 3 million people voted illegally in November’s elections and his promise of a “major investigation” into voter fraud.