White House: Executive Action To Close Guantanamo Bay Not ‘Off the Table’

Guantanamo inmate
Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy/U.S. Navy/Getty Images

The Obama administration appears open to having the president use his executive authority to try to close the terrorist detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, warning Congress to stop blocking his desire to close the facility.

“We would like to work with Congress where we can but if Congress continues to refuse, I wouldn’t rule out the president using every element of his authority to make progress,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during the press briefing, alluding to areas where Obama used executive action before on issues like gun control and immigration reform.

When pressed about the issue, Earnest replied, “At this point I would not take anything off the table.” He added that the administration preferred that Congress would work with the president to close the facility for the sake of national security.

When pressed whether Obama had the authority to do so Earnest replied, “I’m certainly not a lawyer.” He asserted that closing Guantanamo Bay was a top priority for Obama, reminding reporters that the president wanted to close the facility on the second day of his presidency.

He defended Obama’s desire to close the facility as a matter of moral clarity for the United States.

“The president is not playing politics with this issue, the president is trying to do what he thinks is the right thing for the country, he said, calling the issue “critical” for national security.


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