Jan. 29 (UPI) — President Donald Trump accused Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Sunday of “looking to start World War III” after they said the commander in chief’s executive order “may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
The two longtime Senators issued a joint statement on the president’s immigration and refugee order, and Trump quickly fired back in two tweets on Twitter: “The two Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III.”
The president wrote, “The joint statement of former presidential candidates John McCain & Lindsey Graham is wrong — they are sadly weak on immigration.”
In a statement defending Friday’s order, he didn’t mention the two senators.
McCain, of Arizona, and Graham, of South Carolina, are members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election and Graham ran against Trump in the 2016 primary. McCain said he would vote for “some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be president” and Graham said he cast his vote for independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin.
In the executive order, countries whose citizens are barred from entering the United States for 90 days are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump also suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days.
They said Trump’s “executive order was not properly vetted” because of “confusion at our airports across the nation.”
“At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred.”
McCain also criticized the ban during an interview on Face the Nation on CBS.
He said the order will only give the terror group ISIS “some more propaganda.”
“The good news is that it’s only got to do with a pause,” he said about the 90-day ban. “The bad news is that obviously this process and these conclusions were not vetted” with the Department of Homeland Security or the Justice Department.
A federal judge issued an emergency stay for refugees, preventing those detained at American airports from being sent back to one of the seven banned countries.
Another Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said the courts will decide if Trump’s ban “has gone too far.”
“Well, if they’re looking to tighten the vetting process, I mean who would be against that?” McConnell asked on ABC’s This Week.
“But I am opposed to a religious test. The courts are going to determine whether this is too broad.”
His Democrat counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, urged Trump to rescind his order.
“Exec Orders make US less safe & secure; turn much of the world against us. Joining recent refugees today to call on Pres Trump to rescind,” Schumer tweeted Sunday morning
“Still much more work to do; President Trump must overturn this awful executive order,” he wrote.