House Democrats and various faith leaders spoke out against President Donald Trump's executive order on limiting the flow of refugees from certain countries on Wednesday.
In attendance were Rep. Joe Crowley, the House Democratic Caucus Chairman, and Gold Star father, Khizr Khan, who made headlines last summer for his impassioned speech about Donald Trump delivered at the Democratic National Convention, among others.
Khan argued that the executive order has harmed national security, saying:
“This president has endangered the lives of our men and women, our sons and daughters serving overseas in the armed forces. Ask any member of the armed forces serving overseas, they will tell you our safety, our lives depend on the loyalty of the translators. This president, because of his malice towards Muslims, has endangered their lives. He has alienated patriotic American Muslims in the United States. He has alienated them. When you alienate any group, that group becomes the ground for bad to happen.”
While Khan believes the executive order has alienated both American Muslims and those abroad, the Trump administration disagrees.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the order does not specifically target Muslims. “It can’t be a ban if you’re letting in 1 million people, and if 325,000 people from another [Muslim] country can come in, then that is, by nature, not a ban."
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, dismissed the idea that it is not a “ban.”
“It's not a Muslim ban because it bans every Muslim,” Ellison said. “It's a Muslim ban because it bans people because they are Muslim.”
Also present were speakers of various different faiths, including NETWORK's Sister Simone Campbell and Rabbi Shira Stutman, of Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.
Both emphasized the need for cross-cultural cooperation in opposing the executive order. Likewise, Rep. Crowley expressed his hope that congressional Republicans would join him in standing against the order.
“It is antithetical to everything we stand for as a people, as Americans, regardless of race, creed, color, or political persuasion. My Republican colleagues know that this is wrong. They may not be willing or brave enough to speak out now, and I don't know what will push that button, but what he did was wrong, and they know it, and at some point we hope they show the fortitude they need to expose him for what he is.”
Several Republicans have offered criticism of the executive order, but many have remained supportive of Trump on the issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement on Friday that “President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country.”