Jeff Stein reports: Key congressional Republicans who denounced Donald Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” during the campaign have refused to condemn the president’s executive order barring immigrants of seven Muslim-majority countries.
On Dec. 2, 2015, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That proposal was repeatedly repudiated by key leaders in the Republican Party, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence,
Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) December 8, 2015
What Trump signed on Friday is not the full-scale “blanket ban” he once proposed — it temporarily prohibits immigrants and visa-holders from the seven Muslim-majority countries, rather than targeting Muslims specifically. Since Muslims from other countries will still be able to enter the US, Republicans are arguing it’s substantially different from the initial “Muslim ban” — and that there’s therefore no contradiction between their two positions.
But critics say that’s ignoring the intent of Trump’s executive order. Not only does Trump’s action only affect Muslim-majority countries, but it also gives Christians and refugees of other minority religions priority over Muslims — establishing a religious test for admittance, according to The New York Times.
For now, the Republicans publicly infuriated by the “Muslim ban” appear to have no public objections to that. And that could allow Trump to continue to dramatically reduce refugee flows, free of interference from Congress. [Continue reading…]
Last July, Politico reported: On Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigrants, [Gen. James] Mattis [the new Secretary of Defense] — who rarely gives media interviews — was also sharply critical, saying that such talk prompts U.S. allies to think “we have lost faith in reason.”
Asked about the reaction in the Middle East to Trump’s suggestion, Mattis said, “They think we’ve completely lost it. This kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through this international system.” [Continue reading…]