A handful of Republicans spoke out against President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from several Middle Eastern countries, but none of them were as forceful in their denunciation as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The two national security hawks, always on the same page, released a statement questioning the orders this weekend.
“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation,” the two Republicans wrote.
They said it was clear, judging by the chaos at the airports, that the executive orders had not been “properly vetted” by federal agencies before being signed by the president.
“Such a hasty process risks harmful results,” they wrote. “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. 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.”
McCain and Graham warned that Trump’s order would backfire and becoming a “self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”
On Sunday, President Trump responded with harsh words for the two Republicans.
“The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong – they are sadly weak on immigration,” Trump said. “The two Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III.”
McCain and Graham will undoubtedly have something to say about that, but Trump has a point. The two of them are always pushing the U.S. to put ground troops into this country or that one, to force Russia into a corner, or to start dropping bombs on Iran. That’s not to say they don’t have a point when it comes to some of these issues – it’s only to note that their first answer to everything is military action.
Military action has its place, but President Trump has already made it abundantly clear that he is not in favor of the “neocon” strategy of interventionism. He wants to protect this country – not through conquering Middle Eastern countries, but through keeping terrorists on the other side of our borders. If Republicans are disappointed with that strategy, they won’t get any consolation from the White House.