President Donald Trump sent the "wrong message" with his tweets calling for a travel ban and chastising the Justice Department for taking a "watered down" version of it to the Supreme Court, Sen. Ben Cardin said Monday.
"It does not make us more safe," the Maryland Democrat told CNN "New Day" co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. "A travel ban puts us more at risk. It targets Americans traveling abroad [and] it does nothing about self-radicalization."
Trump's call for a ban also is not in keeping with American values and it "exceeds the president's authority," Cardin also said. "And it adds a recruitment tool for extremists."
"For all those reasons, the president is wrong," said Cardin. "As we see the tragedy in the U.K., our thoughts should be with the U.K. and not looking at something to make America less safe."
Even when British investigators release the names of attackers involved in this past weekend's attack on London Bridge, it will not bolster Trump's argument if they came from one of the six countries in his travel ban, Cardin said.
"A travel ban will not make us more safe," said Cardin. "The travel ban will target Americans traveling abroad for terrorists . . . they will use that to attract more people to the extreme agenda.
"Lastly, we know that the terrorist groups operating around the world target locals to assist them. This adds as an effort for self-radicalization.
"For all those reasons," he continued, "a travel ban, particularly one designed by President Trump, which was a religious test against Muslims, is just not going to keep America safe or keep the global community safer. In fact, it makes us more at risk."
Trump's Monday tweets also "clearly" show Trump's intent as the ban moves to the Supreme Court, said Cardin. Many in his administration have said the order is not a travel ban, but a call for better vetting, but the president strongly disagreed Monday with calling it anything but a travel ban.
"Of course, the president doesn't believe in the other branches of government," said Cardin. "He doesn't believe the courts should have the power to stop him from doing what he is doing. The courts have ruled.
"The courts said this abused the executive powers. His lawyers try to justify it by saying it wasn't a travel ban, but it was extreme vetting. The president made that clear. It is a travel ban."
He admitted the United States can do a better job of vetting people coming into the United States, but said he still thinks blocking travel or refugees "is not targeting the real problem."
"If you look at the refugee population, they are less likely to commit terrorist activities than the general population," said Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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