- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

He’s appalled at President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from terrorist-linked countries.

“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded, has been stomped upon,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Then, fighting back his own tears — in an elaborately staged press conference, surrounded by children — he said that the president’s order was “mean-spirited and un-American.”

Yet, on Monday Mr. Schumer vowed to delay the confirmation vote for Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state pick. With only two Cabinet positions filled, Mr. Trump’s administration is off to the slowest start of any president in modern history, thanks to Mr. Schumer’s delay tactics.

Republicans weren’t as obstructionist eight years ago, when seven of then-President Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks were approved on his first day in office and four more in his first week.

Some Democrats see the slow confirmation process as payback for Republicans delaying Mr. Obama’s lame-duck Supreme Court pick. They’re also still reeling from Hillary Clinton’s loss, so much so, the delay may very well be the result of bitterness.

Mr. Trump will secure his Cabinet — the Senate’s role is to merely “advice and consent” and Republicans can push through the votes with a simple majority — so what Mr. Schumer is doing is petulant. Some would say “mean-spirited and un-American.”

And Mr. Tillerson’s role at the State Department will be pivotal in the U.S. implementing Mr. Trump’s immigration executive order fairly and even-handed — something Mr. Schumer would want, if he were to put the hysterics aside.

As David French at the National Review notes, Mr. Trump’s immigration ban contains an important exception: “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

So Mr. Tillerson — along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly — can make exceptions to the ban, clearing interpreters or other proven U.S. allies from these banned regions.

Much hysteria has already been made by the mainstream media about Iraqi interpreters — who served and fought with the U.S. military — being unfairly targeted in the ban. Mr. Tillerson, along with Mr. Kelly, would make sure these persons were exempt.

In order for Mr. Trump to execute his vision — and for his Cabinet members to serve as counter-checks to the White House when executive orders are made — they must be in the room. They have to be confirmed.

Mr. Trump deserves a fully functioning government. It’s time for Mr. Schumer to honor the American tradition of a swift Cabinet confirmation process.

For Lady Liberty is watching, and isn’t too pleased with him, either.

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