Newly elected Congressional Republicans from the Panhandle are voicing support for a controversial executive action. But it’s a different story in a neighboring district.
Politics in Florida’s Panhandle is deep red, and both of the region’s congressmen are backing President Trump’s controversial travel ban. Republican Matt Gaetz says it’s “entirely appropriate” to block entry for 90 days, and he thanked officials who implemented the order over the weekend. Fellow Republican Neal Dunn says “terrorists want to use our immigration and refugee laws as a Trojan horse to come here and kill Americans.” Both Congressmen argue an Obama administration action in 2011 laid the groundwork for Trump’s new policy. But the earlier order required added scrutiny, not an outright ban.
But right next door Democrat Al Lawson is going the other way. He represents a district sprawling from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, and the newly minted congressman says Trump’s action is at odds with the country’s founding principles.
“Well first of all I’m very disappointed because I think the executive order is unconstitutional,” Lawson says, “and it goes against everything, in my opinion, that this country stands for.”
Trump’s decision to bar travelers from certain majority Muslim countries, and all refugees—at least temporarily—has prompted demonstrations throughout the US.