US House Speaker Paul Ryan has thrown his support behind President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, calling on Republicans to defend the discriminatory policy which has drawn strong objections at home and abroad.
“The president has a responsibility to the security of this country,” Ryan told reporters on Tuesday, in his first public comments on the banning executive order. “What is happening is something that we support, we need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff, so that we can guarantee the safety and security of this country. That is what this does.”
The move comes after Trump signed the executive order on Friday, claiming that his administration was seeking to keep what he called “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the US.
Under the new measure, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia are banned from entering the US for at least 90 days, Syrian refugees are blocked indefinitely, while other refugee admissions will also be halted for 120 days.
Most of Republicans have already criticized the Trump administration for failing to consult US Congress prior to the issuance of the new policy that has triggered chaos and uncertainty for the government.
Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned that US lawmakers might take legislative action and defy the order unless the new administration addresses its shortcomings in the coming days.
“I think they understand it was a misfire here,” Corker said. “Obviously the communication was not there. The agency process was not there. Folks here on the Hill were not aware of what was getting ready to happen. People around the world were not aware. Chaos ensued.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said his office had called on the US State Department to provide more clarity about the executive order but had been refused answers.
“I suppose it’s because [they’re] not clear what to tell us yet, but that cannot be a permanent position. We expect answers here fairly soon because we have constituents calling,” noted the senator (pictured above).
“I’m concerned about refugees all over the world, irrespective of the seven countries,” Rubio said. “These are very vulnerable people in very dangerous places.”
Other major Republican figures like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have also criticized the ban, creating further confusion in Washington.
Unaffected by the attacks, Trump fired the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, after she defied the rule.
Trump has come under immense pressure from politicians and rights groups to rescind the ban.