Georgia Republican Sen. David A. Perdue Jr. took on former acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a statement Tuesday after President Donald J. Trump fired her for countermanding his executive order restricting immigrants and refugees from troubled parts of the world.
“Like many Georgians, I have the utmost respect for Sally Yates,” said Perdue. “But I fully support President Trump’s right to make this type of personnel change in light of the fact that he is trying to protect Americans.”
Perdue said Yates put politics ahead of national security.
“Refusing to defend the United States is irresponsible,” he said. “Under President Obama, our federal agencies were extremely politicized, and President Trump is trying to stop this trend. It is refreshing to see President Trump take action immediately instead of acting like a typical politician.”
Friday, Trump signed the executive order that freezes immigration from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, as well as halting President Barack Obama’s program for resettling Syrian refugees in the United States. Monday, Yates, who was the deputy attorney general in the Obama administration and was staying on as the acting AG pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), ordered all attorneys in the Department of Justice not to defend Trump’s order in court.
The president fired Yates later Monday for failing to obey his orders.
Perdue said the president’s executive order was an important part of his program to reestablish the nation’s borders.
“We are at war with ISIS and our previous president refused to put a plan in place to deal with this threat,” said the senator, who is now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“We know terrorist groups have identified our country’s refugee system as a weakness and have purposed to exploit this program to their advantage,” he said.
“The first responsibility of any American president is to protect American citizens. This temporary pause will allow DHS to ensure the vetting process is improved,” he said. “America will always be a compassionate country, and President Trump is taking action to protect all of our citizens.”
Yates was a U.S. Attorney for Northern Georgia. Perdue, representing that same state, voted for Yates’ confirmation as deputy attorney general.