Trump reignites debate over travel ban
President Trump this weekend reignited the debate over his travel ban following an attack Saturday in London that killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more.
After reports of the London attack, Trump on Saturday renewed his call for the courts to approve his executive order, which temporarily bars nationals from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump tweeted Saturday following reports of the London attack. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”
Some Republicans this weekend echoed the president’s calls in light of the recent attack in London. But other lawmakers, including Republicans, as well as former Obama administration officials on Sunday appeared to disagree with the president, with some saying the Trump administration shouldn’t be focused on barring people from entering the country but rather on fostering inclusion and community.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said following the attack that the U.K. needs to come together, adding that “enough is enough.” She said in a statement Sunday that the recent attacks in England are bound together “by the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized how difficult it is to prevent these kinds of attacks.
But he said instead of pushing for a travel ban, more should be done to bridge the gap between the government and the people in nations across the world.
“The fact is, if people want to kill themselves, this is really hard for law enforcement,” Kerry said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
“What we really need to do is focus more, I believe, not on a travel ban … it’s the worst thing we can do,” the former Obama administration official continued.
“But we do need to do, and we do, extraordinary screening, but a great deal more effort has to go into the building of community, the reaching out and working with these entities, with these sectors of society so that there is not as significant a gap as there is in many parts of the world,” he said.
During the interview, Kerry said there is “too much distance between government and the people” all over the world.
“The bottom line is, that in too many places in too many parts of the world, you’ve got a large gap between governance and people, and between the opportunities those people have,” he said.
“This is the same problem of people living in isolation and not feeling as if they have a sufficient stake in society in their world that life is worth living. And if you want to take your own life, you can take other lives with you.”
Susan Rice, former President Obama’s national security adviser, also criticized the travel ban and echoed Kerry’s sentiment.
“There’s really no evidence to suggest that by banning Muslims, or banning Muslims from a particular set of six countries, that we would make ourselves here in the United States safer,” Rice said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“And that’s, I believe, one of the major reasons why the courts thus far have been very skeptical of the travel ban.”
“I think there’s a very real risk that by stigmatizing and isolating Muslims from particular countries and Muslims in general,” she said, “that we alienate the very communities here in the United States whose cooperation we most need to detect and prevent these homegrown extremists from being able to carry out attacks.”
“My view is the president does have certainly the right to put in place extreme vetting,” Blunt said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think you can do that without a travel ban,” he added.
He said the U.S. “constantly” has to be vigilant.
“And I think [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary [John] Kelly is right when he says only because we have been fortunate and worked hard to prevent this have we not had these kind of attacks here,” he added.
Still, some Republicans on Twitter voiced their concern about security in the U.S. following the London attack.
“London attack is wakeup call to end PC,” Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) tweeted Sunday. “[Supreme Court] must restore POTUS power to restrict entry from countries w/ many terrorists & poor security.”
The Trump administration appealed lower court decisions to block the ban to the Supreme Court last week.
London attack is wakeup call to end PC. Sup Ct must restore POTUS power to restrict entry from countries w/ many terrorists & poor security.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) June 4, 2017
Another attack in #London. How many people have to die before West wakes up to dangers of politically correct immigration/refugee policies?
— Brian Babin (@RepBrianBabin) June 4, 2017
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned what it would take for the West to put into place new policies on immigration and refugees.
“Another attack in #London,” Babin tweeted Sunday.
In a statement last week, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the department had “asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and [is] confident that President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism.