Democratic lawmakers harshly and unequivocally condemned President Donald Trump’s executive order Friday that blocks refugees from entering the United States and bars all people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The widespread criticism from Democrats contrasted sharply with the response from Republicans, who went largely silent after Trump signed the order.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said there were tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty over the president’s action.
“As the Statue of Liberty holds her torch of welcome high, there are tears in her eyes as she sees how low this Administration has stooped in its callousness toward mothers and children escaping war-torn Syria. This Administration has mistaken cruelty for strength and prejudice for strategy,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Trump’s order did nothing to address threats of terrorism, Pelosi added. There have been no terror attacks on U.S. soil from individuals from the seven countries specifically targeted by the president’s action.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, said the executive order “runs contrary to everything we cherish about America.”
“To all those afraid: you are not alone. We are with you. And we will fight for you,” Ellison said in a statement.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a Marine veteran, said he was “ashamed” that Trump was president.
“His policies literally put our troops’ lives at risk — I’ve heard this loud and clear when I have visited them overseas. They also prove he has zero understanding of our country’s values and no intention of defending our Constitution,” Moulton said in a statement. “We are a nation of immigrants, and America is stronger when we welcome the refugees of our enemies. These policies do not put America first. I am ashamed that he is our president.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted that she was nauseated after reading about Hameed Khalid Darweesh, a man who had worked on behalf of the United States in Iraq for 10 years but was still detained at New York’s JFK Airport on Friday night.
Reps. Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, both New York Democrats, went to the airport on Saturday to try to intervene on behalf of multiple individuals who had been detained because of Trump’s executive order. Nadler later tweeted a picture of him and Velazquez with Darweesh, who had been released.
“What is happening at JFK International Airport right now is an affront to American values. This harkens back to a previous dark episode in our nation’s history when we turned away Jewish refugees seeking safe harbor from the horrors of Nazism. I will not and cannot stand idly by as the Trump administration begins repeating such unconscionable acts,” Velazquez said in a statement.
Trump had initially discussed his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States in December 2015, prompting broad condemnation even from Republicans.