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Beyer Blasts Trump Appointments

Congressman Don Beyer delivers a speech at the Arlington Jobs and Infrastructure Press Conference outside of Courthouse Metro StationRep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says president-elect Donald Trump’s appointments thus far are an abdication of his duty to lead responsibly.

Beyer says the appointments of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, and Steve Bannon as Chief White House Strategist represent a “divisive course” and should be withdrawn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington on Capitol Hill, was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential race. The congressman’s office issued the following press release.

“I do not expect to agree with President-elect Trump on most issues, but I do expect him to lead responsibly. By appointing Senator Sessions and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to key positions on his administration’s national security team, he has abdicated that duty. His chosen advisors have expressed views attacking women, African Americans, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics and Latinos, immigrants and new Americans, and numerous other groups. I urge him to reconsider this divisive course and withdraw these appointments.”

Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, publicly stated that “fear of Muslims is rational.” Flynn’s financial ties to Russia and Turkey represent a significant potential conflict of interest as he leads the National Security Council. He also said just a month ago that “the Muslim faith itself” is a “political ideology, not a religion,” which is the source of an “existential threat on a global scale.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, nominated to be Attorney General, defended Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States in an interview during which he also defended Trump’s attacks on the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan. Sessions once referred to an African American attorney as “boy,” and said that civil rights groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference were “un-American” and were attempting to “force civil rights down the throats of people.” As Attorney General, Sessions – who has criticized the Voting Rights Act – would be in charge of enforcing civil rights laws and investigating police departments for incidents of racial profiling and race-based-violence. Sessions has also made his stance on immigration – which borders on nativism – the focus of many public statements.

Representative Beyer previously signed the letter led by Rep. David Cicilline urging President-elect Trump to reconsider his appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon to the position of Chief White House Strategist.

He is the sponsor of a House resolution, H. Res. 569, “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” He also proposed the Freedom of Religion Act, a bill which would bar the President from using religious beliefs to prevent travelers, refugees, or immigrants from entering the United States. The bill enjoys bipartisan support in the House as well as the backing of a coalition of civil liberties organizations and groups representing a broad spectrum of religious faiths.

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