Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright condemned President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting refugees and Muslims Tuesday, saying it is “anti-American,” “unprepared” and “causing chaos internationally.”
Signed Friday, Trump’s executive order has suspended refugee resettlement for four months, bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and temporarily bans travelers from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“We are a country that has been created and populated by people from other countries, and so the Statue of Liberty’s message is in fact, one of open arms and welcoming people, and I do think that there are tears in the eyes of the statue,” Albright said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I think it’s just flat anti-American.”
The executive order sparked massive protests and widespread confusion as authorities struggled to implement the new policies. Over the weekend, people who had been authorized to travel to the U.S. were detained or barred from entering the country. A court order Saturday temporarily halted parts of the travel ban, and the Department of Homeland Security clarified Sunday, after initial confusion, that it does not apply to permanent residents, or green card holders.
The travel restrictions were crafted by a small White House team under the direction of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and former executive at Breitbart News, which publishes white nationalist content, according to the New York Times. Government agencies tasked with carrying out the order were given little or no warning about what it contained ahead of time, and while Congressional staffers helped draft the order, according to Politico, a number of Senate Republicans said they were not consulted and that it may need revisions.
On Monday, Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she said the Justice Department would not defend his order.
Albright, who served as secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, criticized the lack of coordination and questioned how the seven restricted countries were chosen.
“I think this was the most unprepared plan that I’ve ever seen in terms of the lack of coordination with other parts of the government,” she said. “This administration is making decisions based on the decisions of people that are uninformed about what is going on in the world.”
When “New Day” host Chris Cuomo asked Albright what she would say to people who fear terrorist threats and believe Trump is making good on his promise to protect the country, she said the order “has actually created more danger.”
“Blaming a whole religion for this is truly outrageous,” Albright said, after previously tweeting support for Muslim-Americans and refugees.
“There are countries that are now in fact not able to cooperate with us in terms of intelligence sharing or generally mistrust,” she added. “It’s created chaos internationally.”
The executive order is not as sweeping as Trump’s call during his campaign for a “ total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” However, some Muslims in the U.S. fear that the order is only the White House’s first step toward more drastic policies targeting Muslims.
When Trump signed the order Friday, he described the policy as the implementation of “new vetting measures.” Later, he defended the seemingly chaotic roll out of the new restrictions, saying “it’s working out very nicely.”
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