McConnell stops short of condemning Trump's travel ban

01/30/2017 01:41 PM

Stopping short of condemning President Trump’s closure of the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, and travel ban on seven Muslim nations, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, did caution that the United States does not have a religious test for entry into the country.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, McConnell said Muslims at home and overseas have proven to be allies in the war on terrorism.

“We have had difficulty in the past at getting interpreters, as you suggested in the earlier segment, who are helpful to us treated properly,” he said Sunday.

Kentucky’s senior Senator stopped short of condemning the actions from President Trump on Sunday after widespread confusion on Saturday as airports across the nations scrambled to comply with the new order.

Friday night, The Department of Homeland Security, who reportedly was kept out of the drafting process when coming up with the order, decided the executive order listing restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, according to CNN. However, the White House later clarified that the order was to be taken on a case-by-case basis, according to the news organization.

The order is part of an “extreme vetting plan” to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” and establishes a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations. Trump ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims, according to the New York Times.

“I don’t want to criticize them for improving vetting. I think we need to be careful, we don’t have religious tests in this country,” McConell said, adding the courts will decide if the order is “too broad.”

“The President has a lot of latitude to try to secure the country, and I’m not going to make a blanket criticism of this effort.

Trump’s order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”

The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

On Saturday night, A federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from the seven nations in the travel ban, saying travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated, according to CBS News.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.