Congressman Michael McCaul, who represents the sprawling 10th District of Texas and chairs the House Homeland Security Committee has some explaining to do, given his flip-flop of the highest order over the weekend about Trump’s executive order banning entry to people from some, but not all, Muslim countries. Given that he chairs the committee that actually oversees U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, you’d think he would have had his story straight from the beginning. On Friday, when the executive order was released, McCaul seemed to be 100% for it, issuing this statement (which includes the patented we-can-have-it-both-ways rhetoric we’ve been getting from Republicans throughout the Syrian refugee crisis):
Then on Saturday, we learned that one likely reason for McCaul’s approval and pledge to take action was that he helped co-author the order.
According to Republican-gone-wild Rudy Giuliani, McCaul was part of the inner circle tapped to assist in crafting to Trump’s Muslim ban so that it wouldn’t seem like a Muslim ban but would function like a Muslim ban. (Confused? You’re supposed to be.)
Here’s Rudy to tell you exactly how it happened:
JP: Does the ban have anything to do with religion? How did the president decide the seven countries? I understand the permanent ban on the refugees—OK, talk to me:
RG: OK, I’ll tell ya the whole history of it. So, when he first announced it, he said “Muslim ban.” He called me up, he said put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.
I put a commission together with Judge Mukasey, with Congressman McCaul, Pete King—whole group of other very expert lawyers on this. And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us. Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible.
To be clear, Rudy Giuliani states unequivocally that McCaul was a key player in creating this heinous executive order.
Maybe there was something about the protests at airports across the country, and the emergency stays from the federal court system that CBP defied in the face of U.S. senators gathered at Dulles International Airport, that gave the chairman pause?
By Sunday, McCaul was backing slowly away from the executive order.
The weekend ended with a more forceful statement released on his official website which begins:
“In light of the confusion and uncertainty created in the wake of the President’s Executive Order, it is clear adjustments are needed.
We should not simply turn away individuals who already have lawful U.S. visas or green cards—like those who have risked their lives serving alongside our forces overseas or who call America their home. We must be focused instead on putting in place tougher screening measures to weed out terror suspects while facilitating the entry of peaceful, freedom-loving people of all religions who see the United States as a beacon of hope.
In the future, such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”
If the order was unclear, and McCaul had a hand in drafting it … well, perhaps owning that is too much to expect from a member we of the party that seems likely to pull several back muscles desperately to prove it can still wear that faded pair of “party of personal responsibility” jeans it used rock when it was actually had organizing principles that went beyond fear and hate.
The question that statement did not address, of course, is what role McCaul played in creating the weekend’s chaos.
Was Rudy Giuliani telling the truth, or was he lying?
Was McCaul for the ban before he was against it? Did he help write it?
He thinks it should be adjusted, but he doesn’t think it should be rescinded? Which parts should be adjusted? What does he really advise?
There’s only one way to know for sure.
You’ve just earned a spot on speed dial for a whole host of Texans disgusted by your disgraceful anti-American Muslim ban.
Well, speed-dial or the honor of having your office address plugged into navigation systems by constituents who happen to be in Austin, Brenham, Katy, or Tomball. Or nearby. Or close enough and fans of long drives in the country.
Your constituents want to know, and we suggest they go straight to the source rather than relying upon the internet. If you can’t speak to someone today, ask to make an appointment.
Here’s where to find Rep. McCaul and his staff.
Remember to be respectful to the staffers answering the phones, and relentless in continuing to call until McCaul explains his role in crafting the ban (or explains why Rudy Giuliani is lying) and calls on the president to end it immediately.
Washington, D.C. Office
hours: M-F 9-5:30pm
Austin District Office
9009 Mountain Ridge Drive
Austin Building, Suite 230
Austin, TX 78759
hours: M-F 9-5:30pm
Brenham District Office
2000 S. Market Street, Suite 303
Brenham, TX 77833
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 8-5pm
Katy District Office
1773 Westborough Drive, Suite 223
Katy Commerce Center
Katy, TX 77449
Phone: (281) 398-1247
Hours: By Appointment Only
Tomball District Office
990 Village Square, Suite B
Rosewood Professional Building
Tomball, TX 77375
Hours: M-F 8-5:00pm