Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Global leaders' criticism mounts

BERLIN — Reflecting mounting European anger and astonishment at President Donald Trump, several countries on Sunday rejected his ban on all refugees and the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.

The spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said there was no justification for the policy — not even the fight against terrorism — of refusing to admit refugees fleeing war. Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain revised her stance on the U.S. directive to take a harder line, while Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy said that Trump's approach ran counter to basic European principles.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Merkel, said in a statement that she had reminded Trump during their telephone conversation Saturday that the Geneva Convention on refugees obliges all member states to take in people fleeing war.

The chancellor "is convinced that the resolute fight against terrorism does not justify blanket suspicion on grounds of origin or belief," Seibert said.

In London, after May's response to a question about the issue Saturday at a news conference in Turkey prompted criticism of her unwillingness to criticize Trump, her spokesman said that the British government did "not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking."

Gentilioni, whose country took in more than 180,000 migrants last year, wrote on Twitter on Sunday: "Open society, pluralism, no discrimination. They are the pillars of Europe."

The comments came a day after President François Hollande of France said he had reminded Trump of his "conviction that the ongoing fight to defend our democracy will be effective only if we sign up to respect to the founding principles and, in particular, the welcoming of refugees."

Seibert said Merkel had explained her stance to Trump, even though statements released in Washington and Berlin hours after their conversation made no mention of Merkel's views on the executive order that the president signed Friday.

Instead, the statements suggested that the two had agreed to cooperate in reinforcing NATO and a trans-Atlantic alliance that Trump has questioned.

GOP reaction

Here is a sampling of reactions from Republican leaders on the president's executive order:

• Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.: "The president's policy entirely misses the mark."

• Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.: "I object to the suspension of visas from the seven named countries because we could have accomplished our objective of keeping our homeland safe by immediate implementation of more thorough screening procedures."

• Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla.: "We must ensure our country is safe from radical Islamic jihadists who want to kill Americans."

• Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.: "It's very prudent to say, 'Let's be careful about who comes into our country to make sure that they're not terrorists.' "

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