Donald Trump ended his disastrous first full week in office by signing an executive order temporarily banning immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries, and suspending admission of refugees from Syria. But he appeared to put off, for the time being at least, reported executive orders lifting President Obama's ban on torture and initiating a baseless "voter fraud" investigation.
At a ceremony to swear in Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders calling for the “rebuilding” of our already vast military, and another which institutes a version of Trump’s long-promised Muslim ban.
In a particularly vile touch, Trump dedicated his hateful order to the people who were killed in the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11:
Secondly, I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people. We will never forget the lessons of 9/11, nor the heroes who lost their lives at the Pentagon. They were the best of us. We will honor them not only with our words, but with our actions, and that’s what we’re doing today.
The order temporarily bans immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya (but, notably, not Muslim-majority countries where Trump has business interests), suspends all U.S. refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely bans all Syrian refugees.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued a powerful statement in response to the ban:
Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon.
Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.
Also in a statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi noted pointedly that the Trump administration “has mistaken cruelty for strength and prejudice for strategy.”
In something of a minor Pyrrhic victory, Trump appears to have scuttled, for the time being, executive orders that would have lifted President Obama’s ban on torture, and would have begun an investigation into the voter fraud lies he has been telling. The postponement of the latter appears to be in response to widespread public pushback on the voter fraud lie, which included even House Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who expressed complete disinterest in such an investigation.
It is a disturbing sign of the times when it counts as good news that all Trump did this week was start a trade war with Mexico, threatened to impose martial law on an American city, threatened the governments of dozens of U.S. cities, and implemented his Muslim ban.
His term in office has barely begun, and already Trump’s America is truly a betrayal of everything for which America stands.