Will the refugee ban reinforce political division?

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JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, President Trump’s immigration order has drawn deep divisions among lawmakers. Elected officials have voiced both support and condemnation, while a number are yet to weigh in.

Here to help us understand the lay of the land on this and other issues of the week, our Politics Monday team, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.

Welcome to both of you. It’s been such a quiet week.


JUDY WOODRUFF: But I thought we would come together anyway.

So, this immigration order we have been talking about all night, it’s a policy move, serious consequences, but it also, Amy, is something that President Trump talked about during the campaign. He said he was going to move on immigration.

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Right.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The public reaction is interesting. A Pew poll out earlier this month showed, what, by 48 to 42 percent, people supported this.

AMY WALTER: Yes, this is actually — this is a Quinnipiac poll that came out earlier this month.

And they said very specifically support or oppose suspending immigration from terror-prone areas, right, sounds very familiar, even if it means turning away refugees. So, they put that in there as well — 48 percent approved.

But, as you know, Judy, the world that we live in right now, not surprisingly, 72 percent of Republicans supported it. Only 24 percent of Democrats said they supported it, and independents closely divided. And such we have the world that we’re going to inhabit, it looks like, for the foreseeable future.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Tam, what we’re watching is a very divided political reaction, Democrats almost universally saying this is a terrible idea, Republicans divided.

TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Yes, Democrats rallying at the Supreme Court tonight, introducing legislation that will go nowhere or not even be able to be brought up on the floor, but Democratic lawmakers are protesting.

On the Republican side, there are sort of a range of reactions. There are people who strongly support what President Trump has signed and what he is doing. There are others who are expressing concerns, and that sort of falls into two categories.

There are people who express a moral concern or a concern that action like this could actually make us less safe, rather than more safe, could give a propaganda advantage to organizations like ISIS. That’s John McCain, Lindsey Graham. Not very many Republican senators going that far.

Most of them are talking more about like logistical challenges, about the rollout could have been a better. Well, the rollout could have been a lot better.

But one senator said, this extreme vetting proposal needed more extreme vetting itself.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy, is there — we’re so early into this next term.

AMY WALTER: That’s right.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there a political calculation for these Republicans?

AMY WALTER: Right. I think a lot of them are still waiting to find out how people are reacting to it.

So, we pointed to the poll, which was theoretical. What do you think about the theory behind this? — 48 percent support. Now that we have seen it, the rollout clearly varying, not very good, once we see the sort of human cost of it, is this going to change people’s minds, or are they going to get just even more hunkered down in this?

And, as we all know, politicians like to wait and watch for where the folks are going. I think it’s really important, to Tam’s point, that even those Democrats who sit in red states, really red states, have come out unambiguously against Donald Trump. And even Republicans who sit in sort of squishy, tentatively Republican districts, most of them have held back and not said much.

Some have come out, but mostly they have held back. I think you are going to see those battle lines. As we saw in that poll, if you’re a Democrat, you are going to support Trump — you’re going to oppose him. If you’re a Republican, you are going to support him.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And yet, Tam, we see, looking at a news organization, or at least an editorial page that normally is very friendly to Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal, writing today, very critical, saying the way — critical of the way it was done, saying he needlessly alienated people, but then goes on to say, “The danger is, he will alienate the friends and allies at home and abroad he needs to succeed.”

So, The Journal taking a longer look at this.


And that gets to some of the national security concerns, that national security experts and veterans of national security argue that this could actually put us in more danger, that there are — the best allies that America has in fighting organizations like ISIS are Muslims themselves.

And I think that that’s getting at that, but it also gets at a little — it’s almost like a more liberal editorial board saying to the Obama administration, oh, my gosh, you really could have done the rollout of Obamacare better several years ago.


Well, it reminds us, Amy, these issues are complicated.

AMY WALTER: They are.

And I think I will go back to the point that you brought up earlier, which is, elections have consequences. Donald Trump the candidate said he was going to do this. A lot of people voted. Millions and millions of people voted for Donald Trump the candidate. He’s now the president, and he’s going through and he’s doing this.

And so the sort of outrage that we’re seeing around the country, while it’s not surprising, it’s also has to — you have to remember that this is something that he promised that he was going to do on the campaign trail and that he’s putting out in reality.

What we need to do — and we talked about this last week — is to wait and watch for the longer-term implications.


AMY WALTER: Is it going to have an impact on our national security? We don’t know. There may be something linked to that. Is it going to have something to do with our diplomacy? Is it going to have a detrimental impact on our diplomacy? Maybe. We don’t know yet.

But it’s clear that this is something he said he was going to do, and he’s implementing it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Very quickly to both of you, another thing we saw is the influence of Steve Bannon, senior adviser to the president. We saw the president in the last few days say that he wants to add Steve Bannon, Tam, to the National Security Council principals, the people who sit in on these very important private sessions on what the country does.

Steve Bannon is turning out to be a major player there.

TAMARA KEITH: And when the senior stuff was announced, he was announced at the same time as the chief of staff as sort of a co-equal.

And it’s very clear — it was clear in the inaugural address. It’s been clear in many of these memoranda and orders that his voice is there, his words are there.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And people watching because of this alt-right narrative around Breitbart.

AMY WALTER: Right, and that he is going to be a very influential voice. But, at the end of the day, it’s Donald Trump’s name on all the legislation and all the executive orders, and the buck stops with him.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, Politics Monday, thank you both.

TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

And a postscript. I told you on Friday that I would be interviewing Vice President Mike Pence tomorrow, but I will now be sitting down with him this Wednesday at the White House. Tune in.

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