As a former sheriff, Rep. Dave Reichert, a Washington state Republican, criticized the “improper apprehension of people” that resulted from President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Rep. Dan Newhouse said the ban had “needlessly disrupted” the lives of innocent people.
And Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler said there should be a way to secure the U.S. borders without detaining people “who have followed the rules, stood in line and pose no threat to our country.”
While all three Washington state Republicans criticized the temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority countries, none took aim at Trump himself.
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, part of the GOP House of Representatives leadership team, did not criticize either Trump or his handling of the travel ban.
“We must ensure that our vetting procedures are robust and that those entering the country do not pose a security risk,” she said. “It is also important we remain a compassionate country that does not close its doors to those facing persecution and violence throughout the world.”
Democrats from the Evergreen State were far more eager to go after the president directly on Monday.
In Seattle, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is filing a lawsuit in federal court against the president, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump administration officials. He said he wanted to have key provisions of the travel ban declared unconstitutional.
Sen. Patty Murray, the state’s senior senator, joined the call for Trump to reverse the ban immediately.
Murray called the travel ban “abhorrent” and said the president had moved to “slam the door on thousands of people, many of whom are women and children fleeing horrific violence.”
And she said federal employees who were expected to execute Trump’s plan had not been properly trained, raising questions of whether the ban had been implemented equally at airports across the country.
“That’s what happens when you issue an executive order without knowing what you’re doing,” Murray said.
Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s plan had caused “potentially irreparable harm to our international alliances.”
“Trump’s disturbing lack of knowledge of the current vetting processes and his complete disregard for American values is both disturbing and dangerous,” Smith said.
Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Trump travel ban “is as low as it gets.”
“The United States of America has always been a haven for everyone – regardless of religion or nationality – who seeks a better life,” Larsen said.
At a news conference at the airport Sunday night, Murray told reporters that she planned to return to Washington, D.C., on Monday “with the intent of getting to the bottom of this.”
“I have not been able to get a hold of the Trump administration . . . and that has been very frustrating,” Murray said. She said she had always been able to get questions answered from federal agencies in the past.
When Washington state Democratic Reps. Suzan DelBene and Pramila Jayapal couldn’t get anyone on the phone to tell them who had been detained on Saturday, they asked for an escort to go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office.
Once they arrived in the secure area, they stood outside the door, looking through the window, until someone came to see them. After a flurry of activity, a supervisor told them they had to call a congressional liaison in Washington, D.C., who then told them they must submit their questions in writing.
“Clearly, there was concern from employees that they weren’t allowed to talk to us. . . . It’s incredibly frustrating,” DelBene said Monday. “The Constitution tasks Congress with oversight of the executive branch, and when we can’t get information, it’s incredibly concerning.”
Reichert said he wanted the Trump administration to work with Congress to “protect our borders while maintaining our nation’s dedication to compassion and religious freedom.”
“Careful vetting to ensure the safety of the American people is the responsibility of the federal government and one I take very seriously,” he said. “Unfortunately what we’ve seen this weekend is mass confusion and miscommunication between government agencies and the improper apprehension of people legally allowed to be in the U.S.”
Similarly, Newhouse called on the Trump administration “to review its order” to make sure that those who aren’t a threat to security aren’t targeted. He said “some who have performed brave and valuable service to our anti-terror efforts” have had their lives disrupted because of the travel ban.
Herrera Beutler, never a fan of Trump’s, said the United States should “uphold its tradition of allowing . . . law-abiding foreign nationals” to enter the country.
“I hope this administration takes quick action to ensure that we’re focused only on those who pose a threat to our safety,” she said.
DelBene said she hoped that Republicans and Democrats joined this week on Capitol Hill to force Trump to rescind the travel ban.
“This is clearly something that is against the values of our country and unconstitutional,” she said. “I would hope that we can send a loud message to the president.”