President Donald Trump’s executive order that’s banned citizens from seven Muslim countries and refugees from entering the U.S. has motivated Democratic lawmakers to blast the president all Saturday.
If you wonder what the Mike Pence from December 2015, when he was Indiana’s governor, would have thought about it, you’re not the first to ask that question. Because this is what Pence proclaimed 13 months ago.
Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) December 8, 2015
Pence later told reporters, “The United States cannot, and should not discriminate on the basis or religion. The free exercise of religion is at the very heart of our constitutional guarantees for all persons in this country.”
Several anonymous Congressional aides spoke to the Washington Post on Saturday and said this was not a ban on all Muslims or on all Muslim-majority countries (the seven nations targeted by Trump are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen).
Despite Trump saying Christian refugees could be prioritized to enter the country, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s spokesperson, AshLee Strong, also told the newspaper, “This is not a religious test and it is not a ban on people of any religion.”
Said Ryan on Friday: “Our number one responsibility is to protect the homeland. We are a compassionate nation, and I support the refugee resettlement program, but it’s time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa-vetting process. President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country.”
But last June, Ryan had a slightly different opinion. As the New York Daily News remembers, here’s what Ryan said at a press conference: “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest, I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party, but as a country.”
He also tweeted this.
A religious test for entering our country is not reflective of America's fundamental values. I reject it. pic.twitter.com/DdsYj2XoLS— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) July 31, 2016
Ryan’s latest opinion, which now seems to be in perfect step with Trump, infuriated Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent—who appears to be the first Republican to respond negatively to the executive order—also has gone on record not supporting Trump’s ban.
News: @RepCharlieDent, a PA Republican who reps a large Syrian comm tells me:— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) January 28, 2017
“I urge the admin to halt enforcement of this order…" (1/
"…until a more thoughtful and deliberate policy can be instated" (2/2)— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) January 28, 2017
Dent has constituents w family who were turned back at PHL this am