I would have hoped, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that we could all come together and not blame mainstream politicians for the actions of a sociopath who wallowed in the fringe gutters of political thought.
Hope for decorum in the political arena isn’t something that lasts very long, I’ve found, and this hope of mine lasted but minutes.
There were scores of arguments trying to posit that President Donald Trump and conservative figures were responsible for influencing the attacker, mostly based off of an inchoate, byzantine manifesto in which the attacker seemed to admit of the fact he hoped to sew the very kind of division those advancing these arguments were engendering. Congratulations, I guess.
Some of the attacks were more ill-formed than others. Take, for instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s implied shot at the president.
On Friday, in the wake of the Christchurch shooting, the New York Democrat posted an attack on Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” While it didn’t directly name-check Christchurch, the conspicuous subtext couldn’t be missed.
“Daily reminder that we have a **Muslim Ban** in this country made out of the President’s hostility to Muslim people w/ little-to-no supporting evidence, and a Republican Party that tolerates it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
“There is so much work to do. Repealing the Ban is square 1.”
Daily reminder that we have a **Muslim Ban** in this country made out of the President’s hostility to Muslim people w/ little-to-no supporting evidence, and a Republican Party that tolerates it.
There is so much work to do. Repealing the Ban is square 1.https://t.co/dqrCsedMrt
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 15, 2019
There’s enough plausible deniability in this tweet that one couldn’t definitively say Ocasio-Cortez was saying ban A influenced action B, but it also didn’t take a genius to tell what she meant. The problem was, as Frank Camp wrote over at The Daily Wire, the characterization of the president’s action as a “Muslim Ban” omits some pertinent facts.
“Let’s start with some recent history,” Camp wrote. “In December 2015, former President Obama signed legislation that would restrict travel for individuals from certain countries. The ‘Restriction On Use Of Visa Waver Program For Aliens Who Travel To Certain Countries’ legislation was part of a larger appropriations bill.”
Those restrictions put certain restrictions on the eligibility of those applying for a visa waiver, including that: “(i) the alien has not been present, at any time on or after March 1, 2011— (I) in Iraq or Syria; (II) in a country that is designated by the Secretary of State … or any other provision of law, as a country, the government of which has repeatedly provided support of acts of international terrorism; or (III) in any other country or area of concern.”
By 2016, seven countries were ineligible for the visa waiver program under those restrictions: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. When Trump came into office, he issued a temporary travel ban on individuals from those countries. That ban was eventually updated to remove Iraq and Sudan while adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. Chad was also removed from the list later on.
The ban eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where it was upheld by a 5-4 decision. In his ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that “the text says nothing about religion,” rejecting the argument that the ban was specifically aimed at those of the Islamic faith.
“The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” he wrote.
In The Daily Wire, Camp wrote:
“One can certainly doubt the personal motivations of the president, but from a legal standpoint, the travel ban has been ruled viable. Moreover, if it were a ‘Muslim ban,’ as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez claims, one has to ask why majority-Muslim nations such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, and a number of others were left off the list.”
Beyond the shopworn “Muslim Ban” rhetoric, the timing of this can’t be ignored. A sick shooter kills 50 Muslims during prayers in one of the most heinous terrorist attacks in recent years. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweets about Donald Trump’s travel ban. She’s not saying there’s either correlation or causality — but just think the juxtaposition over, will you?
This, by the way, wasn’t the only rebarbative statement from Ocasio-Cortez regarding the attack. She also managed to rip the National Rifle Association and prayer in a Twitter post about an attack that happened in far from American shores and targeted victims in the midst of prayers. Wonderful. Clearly, these are the words of someone less concerned with preventing another incident like this and more concerned with using it to buttress her own partisan view of the world.
Not only are her arguments false, however, they’re also deeply wrong on a moral level.
The Christchurch shooter claimed, in his manifesto, that he wanted to cause political division.
If he needed someone to do the heavy for him on this side of the world, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is only too happy to oblige.
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