FAIRBANKS — Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation have repudiated statements by both presumptive presidential nominees in the wake of the Sunday nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan rejected remarks made by their party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald Trump, who on Monday renewed his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants to the United States.
Murkowski and Sullivan have each said they would support Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.
“I do not agree with Donald Trump’s call for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the United States,” Murkowski said in a statement provided by her spokeswoman. “It is not what this country stands for — nor do I agree with Hillary Clinton’s tired attack on Second Amendment rights.”
Sullivan also expressed distaste for Trump’s plan, conveying his disagreement through a statement from his spokesman.
“Senator Sullivan does not support Mr. Trump’s plan,” spokesman Mike Anderson wrote Monday, reiterating a statement issued by Sullivan’s office in December. “While he understands that we must aggressively fight against radical Islam, we cannot sacrifice our country’s founding principles.”
Trump’s comments came on Twitter and during a speech about terrorism, immigration and national security in New Hampshire on Monday. In addition to referencing his previous call for a blanket ban on Muslim immigration, made following December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Trump said he would cease immigration from any country with a history of terrorism against the West.
“The immigration laws of the United States give the president the power to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons that the president deems detrimental to the interests or security of the United States, as he deems appropriate,” Trump said. “I will use this power to protect the American people.”
Sullivan and Murkowski also condemned comments made by Clinton, who called for improved background checks for firearms purchases and revisiting the federal assault weapons ban. The assault weapons ban, passed by Congress and signed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994, expired via sunset clause in 2004 when attempts to renew it failed.
“(Sen. Sullivan) opposes any effort to whittle away the constitutionally enshrined right of Alaskans to keep and bear arms,” Anderson wrote in an email to the News-Miner.
As for Murkowski, the state’s senior senator warned people not to be lulled into accepting “easy solutions.”
“Not only did the Orlando shooter pass the necessary background checks, but he was a U.S. citizen,” Murkowski said in her emailed statement. “As to the assault weapons ban, it’s a proposal that has been rejected on a bipartisan basis and for good reason. I want to keep Americans safe, and that means keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, not eroding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Both senators said they plan to attend FBI briefings on the Orlando shooting later this week.
Contact staff writer Weston Morrow at 459-7520. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMschools.