While everyone was watching SOTU, Trump quietly crushed Obama’s dream of closing GITMO

Before stepping behind the podium to deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reversing another of his predecessor’s policies.

Trump signed an order to keep the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba open, ending former President Obama’s order to close the facility nearly a decade ago.

“I just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing Secretary Mattis, who is doing a great job thank you, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay,” Trump announced Tuesday during his speech, referring to the secretary of defense who sat in the front row along with other members of the president’s cabinet. The president noted that he was “keeping another promise” by signing the order.

“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are,” Trump said. “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.”

Tuesday’s order effectively rescinds Obama’s order which he signed after taking office in January 2009. the Guantánamo prison facility was opened after 9/11 by former President George W. Bush to hold accused terrorists and enemy combatants and currently holds 41 prisoners.  Obama had vowed to close the prison within a year of taking office but never accomplished his goal.

“The United States may transport additional detainees to US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay when lawful and necessary to protect the Nation,” the order signed by Trump said, assuring that operations at the prison facility were “legal, safe, humane, and conducted consistent with United States and international law.”

“I am asking Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. And in many cases, for them, it will now be Guantanamo Bay,” Trump said.

And while the usual critics blasted the president’s decision, others praised the move, including Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts who fought against Obama’s intention to potentially relocate detainees to Ft. Leavenworth upon the once planned closing of  the Guantanamo Bay facility.

“For eight years, I actively fought the Obama administration’s threat to close Guantanamo Bay and move those enemy combatants to a site on the U.S. mainland, in particular Ft. Leavenworth,” the Republican senator said. “President Trump has unequivocally agreed that Guantanamo Bay is the best and safest location to house enemy combatants. Kansans – and all Americans – can now rest assured knowing that no terrorists will be moved into the heart of their communities. As I always have stated, not on my watch will any terrorist be placed in Kansas.”


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Frieda Powers


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