President Trump’s temporary ban on refugees from Muslim countries isn’t sitting well with millions of Americans and apparently a large part of the Republican base.
Top Senate Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, avoided directly criticizing Trump, instead noting that the courts will have to decide if the President’s order is too broad.
“We need to bear in mind that we don’t have religious tests in this country and we also need to remember that some of our best allies in the war against Islamic terrorism are Muslims,” McConnell said on ABC’s This Week.
“It’s hopefully going to be decided in the courts as to whether or not this has gone too far. I don’t what to criticize them for improving vetting. I think we need to be careful. We don’t have religious tests in this country,” he added.
Other Republican leaders had to problem calling out President Trump for his executive action. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the order would likely provide a propaganda advantage to ISIS.
Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., voiced her support for increased vetting for national security concerns, but said Trump’s order “went beyond the increased vetting actions that Congress has supported on a bipartisan basis and inexplicably applied to green card holders, people who are legally within our country who have followed the rules . . . this should be addressed and corrected expeditiously.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, went on CNN Sunday and declared that the order was “not properly vetted” and should be stayed until Congress can get involved.
“You have an extreme vetting proposal that didn’t get the vetting it should have had, and as a result, in the implementation we’ve seen some problems,” he said. “I think we should slow down.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added, “I strongly urge the new administration to move quickly to tailor its policy on visa issuance as narrowly as possible, delivering on our security needs while reducing unnecessary burdens on the vast majority of visa-seekers that present a promise — not a threat — to our nation.”
Hatch went one step further, noting that his own Mormon voter base was once a persecuted religious minority full of “refugees” who were “driven from their homes,” during a tense time in American history.
Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from central Pennsylvania, didn’t hold back in attacking Trump’s religious ban. “This is ridiculous,” he told The Washington Post. “I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., agreed that the order was rushed and should be vetted properly before moving forward with any type of plan.