Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Monday he plans to ask for a delay on the confirmation vote of Rex Tillerson, President Trump’s secretary of state pick, in the wake of the administration’s “extreme vetting” immigration executive order and resulting fallout.
“Because when he was questioned in committee and asked about a future Muslim ban, [because] we didn’t know that it was occurring, he was very mealy-mouthed,” Mr. Schumer said of Mr. Tillerson on NBC’s “Today” program.
“I think we’re going to ask about it for it for just about every one,” Mr. Schumer said when asked about other Cabinet nominees.
“Aren’t the American people entitled to know the positions of these Cabinet people before they come in?” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.
Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump’s executive order restricting travel from seven countries with a history of terrorism will make the U.S. less safe.
“It will encourage lone wolves here in America. They have created most of the terrorism,” he said.
Mr. Schumer said also he planned to ask for a vote to repeal the order on Monday, saying 11 Republicans have spoken out against it.
The White House has bristled at critics labeling the order a “Muslim ban.”
The administration has defended the order in the face of chaos and protests over the weekend at airports across the country and a federal judge’s issuing a stay and ordering that valid visa holder from the affected countries — Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia — not be deported.
The administration said the order was rolled out with national security interests in mind and that only a small percentage of travelers were affected.
Mr. Trump also appeared to allude to Mr. Schumer’s tearing up at a press conference on Sunday during which the New York senator denounced the order.
“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage … protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer,” Mr. Trump tweeted Monday.