Peninsula GOP, Democrats split on travel restrictions ruling

Peninsula GOP, Democrats split on travel restrictions ruling

County Republican and Democratic leaders split along party lines in their responses to President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions and a federal judge’s ruling that enforcement be temporarily suspended.

“I think this is just Bob Ferguson [the Washington state attorney general] trying to get his name in the paper and run for governor and waste taxpayer money,” said Jon Cooke, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party.

“We’re aligned with the state Democratic Party on that ruling,” said Marty Gilmore, acting chair of the Jefferson County Democrats. “We think it was an overreach and we’re totally against it.”

Said Matthew Rainwater, chairman of the Clallam County Republican Party, in an email: “It is in our country’s best interest to ensure those that are coming here from countries with ties to state sponsored terrorism are vetted to make sure they are not themselves terrorists.”

He expects the ruling to be appealed eventually to the Supreme Court and said, “It is my hope that the Supreme Court will side with the President and allow his executive order to stand.”

Craig Ritchie, co-chair of the Clallam County Democrats, said party members were pleased with the Seattle judge’s ruling Friday.

“The Clallam County Democratic platform has disapproved of the Muslim ban and the belief that immigrants are unable to contribute to the country,” Ritchie said. “The Democratic Party is supportive of [state Attorney General] Bob Ferguson’s suit.”

Said Rainwater: “It comes as no surprise to me that liberals (who pretty much want us to have open borders) do not like the executive orders.

“They want to label this as a ‘ban on Muslims;’ however that simply is not the case. This is a measure taken by President Trump to ensure that nobody (no matter what their faith is) that comes into the country is a terrorist.”

Ritchie said Trump’s executive order “seemed harsh. It seemed like it might have been premature and could have been thought out so that it didn’t cause the problems” of confusion at airports across the nation.

Ritchie also questioned what effect the restraining order will have in the end.

“Does it affect visas that have already been canceled? Does it affect visas that had been canceled before the ruling?” he asked.

Cooke said that “the protection of our county is necessary and, for good reasons, there are ways to get around the ban.”

Cooke referred to an Iranian infant with a serious heart defect whose family was denied a visa to a Portland, Ore., hospital for urgent surgery. Several Oregon lawmakers filed for a waiver from the State Department and Homeland Security. Fatemah and her family received clearance to enter late Friday night.

Dick Pilling, former Clallam County Republican chairman, said Trump’s executive order was “a great idea.

“It’s not a ban; it’s a temporary halt which presidents have done many times in the past. I see nothing wrong with it.”

Pilling said he has lived in Syria and Yemen.

“They have no government. It’s impossible to vet those people. I’m in favor of a temporary ban until we can be sure those people mean us no harm,” he said.

Pilling said he would like to see vetting taken further.

“Our country has the right to evaluate people coming in in terms of a) whether they present a danger to the U.S. and b) can they bring something to us.

“They don’t speak English, they have no skills and they have a religion that is inimical to the philosophies of our nation.

“I think our president is steering our country in the right direction.”

On Jan. 28, state Democrats passed a resolution condemning Trump’s action. Jefferson County’s representative Ryan McAllister was one of the young Democrats who drafted that resolution.

“We’re proud that state Attorney General Bob Ferguson made us the first state in the nation to put forward a lawsuit,” McAllister said.

“I’m happy to be a Democrat, and I know that the residents of Jefferson County will continue to resist whatever President Trump throws our way.”


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at

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