Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gop Keeps Low Profile amid Protests

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gop Keeps Low Profile amid Protests

Article excerpt

As Pennsylvania Democrats took to social media, and the steps of the Supreme Court, to oppose President Donald Trump's controversial restrictions on immigration from Muslim countries, area Republicans have kept a much lower profile.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, for one, spent the weekend out of public view while attending a political gathering led by allies of the conservative Koch family.

Mr. Trump's order suspended immigration, at least temporarily, from seven mostly Muslim countries, while barring settlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. But the move sparked protests at U.S. airports, as even immigrants with residency status were detained by immigration officials.

The Kochs took issue with Mr. Trump's policy in a statement Sunday, and Mr. Toomey followed suit Monday morning.

Though he said in his statement that "I support the administration's decision to increase vetting and temporarily suspend the admission of certain individuals from states that sponsor or provide safe havens to terrorists, or are too weak to prosecute terrorists within their borders," he said that the fact that even immigrants with residency status were detained by immigration officials showed that the order was "too broad and poorly explained. This apparently resulted in denied entry into the United States for [those] who should have been allowed immediate entry."

The Trump administration backed off that position in the face of widespread opposition. Characterizing that move as having "clarified" the rules, Mr. Toomey's statement concluded, "I look forward to learning more about how the administration intends to enforce this executive order."

Area Republican Congressmen struck similar themes in their own statements late Sunday and Monday.

Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, who represents the 12th Congressional District, said, "President Trump is keeping his campaign promise to keep America safe and secure." While the order affects several Muslim countries, Mr. Rothfus noted, it omits others. That, he said, meant the order "is not a Muslim ban," but a "pause on immigration" from countries with weak or nonexistent protections. …

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