Ted Cruz Strongly Backs Trump Travel Ban, While John Cornyn More Cautious

WASHINGTON -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz offered full-throated praise for President Donald Trump's temporary ban on travel visas to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries Monday, while the state's senior senator, John Cornyn, was more cautious. Cornyn, speaking to reporters on Monday, said that he was "glad" the policy was revised to ensure legal permanent residents weren't included in the temporary ban. "They got into a big hurry," Cornyn said of the roll-out, quickly adding: "But public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of the federal government, so I certainly support the vetting of refugees coming into the country."The White House has not revised the policy, but newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who reportedly was not apprised of the order ahead of its enactment, issued a statement Sunday that said legal permanent residents with valid green cards would be granted a waiver to enter the U.S., barring indications that they pose a security threat.Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican leader, said he, like other congressional leaders, was not consulted prior to its implementation.Trump's executive order, issued late last week, prompted spontaneous protests, strikes and a flurry of legal actions over the weekend as scores of unsuspecting travelers — including legal permanent residents — were detained and questioned in airports nationwide.Cruz, in a written statement issued Monday, slammed former President Barack Obama for being “willfully blind to the threat of radical Islamic terrorism” and commended Trump “for acting swiftly to try to prevent terrorists from infiltrating our refugee programs.”Cruz, who has shown continued support for Trump since endorsing him last year, blamed the public outcry on “hysteria and mistruths being pushed by the liberal media.” The ban is a pause in refugee admissions "so that stronger vetting procedures can be put in place," he said. "This is a commonsense step that the American people overwhelmingly support."White House surrogates and some Republican lawmakers have pushed back against accusations that the ban violates the First Amendment and targets Muslims. Cruz previously disavowed Trump's campaign call for a ban on Muslims entering the country, but has himself called for surveillance of Muslim communities in the United States, as well as a three-year moratorium on refugees from countries with a strong al-Qaeda or Islamic State influence.Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle -- as well as newly-confirmed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, according to news reports -- were caught off guard by the order last week, forcing many to scramble to chart their own positions on the policy.Democrats, many of whom joined protesters at airports nationwide, have denounced the executive order as un-American and unconstitutional, while Republicans have taken more cautious, varied and nuanced approaches.Over the weekend, some Texas Republicans quickly issued statements in support of the measure, while San Antonio Rep. Will Hurd, a former CIA officer, was the first in the Texas delegation to be unequivocally opposed.The ban is the “ultimate display of mistrust and will erode our allies' willingness to fight with us,” he said in a statement Sunday, adding that it and “provides terrorists with another tool to gain sympathy and recruit new fighters."House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, offered praise and careful criticism of the measure over the weekend. While noting the ensuing “confusion and uncertainty” over the ban made clear the need for adjustments, McCaul said the U.S. shouldn’t turn away people with lawful U.S. visas and green cards, particularly "those who have risked their lives serving alongside our forces overseas or who call America their home.”House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, said that while it’s “understandable” the Trump would want to temporarily halt admitting refugees in order to assess the vetting process, "less understandable, however, is issuing an order with so much confusion and uncertainty that even legal permanent residents and those who have helped our troops are caught up in the chaos.”Trump, who took to Twitter on Monday to defend his decision, has already shown willingness to target his critics -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- for questioning his measure.   Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us