McCain, Graham: Trump order may become 'self-inflicted wound' in terrorism fight

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday said they fear President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE’s recent executive order imposing a temporary ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States “will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”

“Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred," the senators said in a joint statement, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. "This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security."

Trump on Friday signed an executive order calling for a 90-day ban on nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States. The order also includes a 120-day halt on admitting refugees and an indefinite pause on admitting refugees from Syria.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help,” the senators, frequent Trump critics, said in the statement.

“And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children,” they added.

Earlier on Sunday, McCain expressed concern over how this new order could affect Iraqis, telling CBS’s John Dickerson that Gen. David Petraeus is “very concerned” about translators who helped the United States military.

“What about the Iraqi pilots training in Tucson Arizona, learning to fly the F-16?” McCain asked on “Face the Nation.”

He also said the executive order may fuel propaganda disseminated by ISIS.

“I think the effect will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda,” he said.

Trump responded Sunday in two tweets, saying, “The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong - they are sadly weak on immigration.”