U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voiced their displeasure with the presidential executive order banning refugees, which sparked protests at several airports around the country.
Kaine appeared on NBC’s "Meet The Press" Sunday morning and said the order puts at risk people who have helped the United States in countries included in the ban. He said the order is a religious test that poses a different burden on those who practice the Muslim faith than other faiths.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 29, 2017
“The irony is not lost on me that it was issued the same day as the White House issued their Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation that, unlike any previous administration, removed all reference to Jews,” Kaine told MTP host Chuck Todd. “You put a religious test on Muslims, and you try to scrub reference to Jews in the Holocaust Remembrance. This was horribly, horribly mishandled.”
Kaine pointed to Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor to President Donald Trump, who served at the executive chair for Breitbart News, an organization that Kaine said “traffics in white supremacy, anti-Semitism,” as a key influencer in the structure and timing of the immigration order.
Cardin, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on Sunday, calling for the president to rescind the executive order “before it does any more damage to our national security, endangers the lives of Americans or our allies, and erodes further the moral reputation of the United States of America.”
“President Trump's potentially-unlawful order … sends a chilling message to anyone willing to assist United States forces overseas. In so doing, the president made the world more dangerous for America,” Cardin said. “This betrayal of our friends and those who stood with us - indeed of our deepest values as a nation - promises to make the U.S. less safe and places our courageous servicemen and women in even greater danger as they fight against terrorism.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe denounced the president’s order and asked Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to look into "all legal remedies" available to help individuals who may be detained in Virginia.
Trump's order, which also suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and bars the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely, has sparked major protests, including at several of the nation's international airports.
A federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from seven majority Muslim nations subject to Trump's travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.