Members of the GOP are being excoriated for their near-unanimous silence in regards to Donald Trump’s unconstitutional executive order that mainly targets immigration from Muslim countries, which human rights advocates, world leaders, and celebrities have all condemned.
But perhaps no one from the Republican party is being raked over the coals quite like Vice President Mike Pence, who was seen clapping when the president signed the executive order Friday. The ban prohibits travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, while suspending the admission of refugees from those counties for 120 days. But Pence’s endorsement of the ban runs in stark contrast to a tweet he wrote in December 2015, when he was the Governor of Indiana.
“Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional,” Pence wrote at the time. Later that day, while speaking to reporters, Pence doubled down on his stance, saying that the U.S. “cannot, and should not discriminate on the basis or religion. The free exercise of religion is at the very heart of our constitutional guarantees for all persons in this country.”
Pence was joined in his policy flip-flopping by Speaker of The House Paul Ryan, who also rejected a Muslim ban in a tweet that has since been deleted. “A religious test for entering our country is not reflective of America’s fundamental values. I reject it,” he wrote last August.
Ryan sang a different tune Friday, when he released a statement supporting Trump’s executive order:
“Our number one responsibility is to protect the homeland. We are a compassionate nation, and I support the refugee resettlement program, but it’s time to reevaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process. This is why we passed bipartisan legislation in the wake of the Paris attacks to pause the intake of refugees. President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country.”
People on Twitter made sure to call Ryan and Pence out for their apparent change of heart:
As outrage over Trump’s executive order—which bans immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S—continues to grow, the White House is scrambling restore some kind of order. On Sunday, Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press and explained that green card holders would not be affected by the ban moving forward.
“If you're an American citizen traveling back and forth to Libya, you are likely to be subjected to further questioning when you come into an airport," Preibus said, adding, "There is discretionary authority that a customs and border patrol agent has when they suspect that someone is up to no good when they travel back and forth to Libya or Yemen."
On Saturday dozens of people with legal green cards were prevented from entering the country because they were Muslim.