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Trump Blames Obama’s Immigration Lottery for NYC Attack, Calls US Justice ‘A Joke’

Trump said he wants to immediately work with Congress to abolish the immigration lottery under which Saipov entered the United States.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (VOA)

White House, November 2, 2017 : The terror attack in New York on Tuesday quickly became a political issue after President Donald Trump blamed a visa program that he said allowed the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, into the country and called the U.S. justice system “a joke” for moving too slowly.

Saipov, who told officers he chose Halloween for his attack because he thought more people would be on the streets, was charged Wednesday in a two-count criminal complaint.

Trump said he wants to immediately work with Congress to abolish the immigration lottery under which Saipov entered the United States.

Those remarks drew criticism from Democrats, who said the president was rushing to politicize a tragedy at a time when law enforcement is trying to determine the facts of what happened.

On Wednesday, Trump, in a Twitter remark, blamed Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York for allowing “the terrorist” into the U.S., as part of “what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reacts to questions from reporters about President Donald Trump reportedly sharing classified information with two Russian diplomats during a meeting in the Oval Office, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) VOA

Schumer accused Trump of “politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy.” Schumer said he has “always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the president’s tweets “unhelpful.”

“I don’t think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation. He was referring back to an immigration policy that dealt with a lottery and blaming people who passed that immigration policy. His tweet wasn’t even accurate, as far as I’m concerned. That was a bipartisan law that was passed that had basically no relevance to the facts of this situation.”

Later, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was not blaming Schumer for the attack and that only Saipov was responsible. She said Trump considers Saipov an “enemy combatant.”

But she said the lottery immigration system under which Saipov came to the U.S. in 2010 should be revoked because it leaves to chance who gets to come to the U.S., with little vetting of their character and background.

The immigration lottery was part of 1990 U.S. legislation that Schumer, then a member of the House of Representatives, sponsored along with 25 other Democrats and six Republicans.

More ‘extreme vetting’

On Tuesday night, within hours of the attack, Trump ordered the country’s Homeland Security agency “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program,” about immigration into the U.S. “Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

Uzbekistan is not one of the countries that the Trump administration has highlighted as security threats warranting a ban on travelers.

Sanders, responding to a reporter’s question during Tuesday’s daily press briefing, said no decision has been made on whether Uzbekistan should be added to the travel ban list.

Saipov, according to law enforcement officials, said he had carried out the attack after watching Islamic State videos on his cellphone.

Extremism analyst Bennett Clifford at George Washington University says many become radicalized after they are already in the United States.

“I think that’s important to take in mind as well that we’re not only facing an international terrorism problem in terms of people from overseas coming here,” Clifford said. “That’s less of an issue than I think than the problem of homegrown extreme — extremism where individuals born, raised in the United States are pushed down this same path to violent extremism.”

In remarks at the White House on Wednesday, the president also suggested more fundamental changes to the U.S. justice system to address the threat of terrorist attacks. He also seemed to blame the U.S. justice system for attacks like the one in New York Tuesday.

“We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.” (VOA)

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Support for U.S. President Donald Trump Increases Slightly among Republicans

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents

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President Donald Trump listens during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 16, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows.

The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week.

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm.

Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.

US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump portrays Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., left, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., 2nd left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., 3rd left, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., right, as foreign-born troublemakers. VOA

Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41% of the U.S. public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55% disapproved.

The results showed strong Republican backing for Trump as the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution on Tuesday, largely along party lines, to condemn him for “racist comments” against the four Democratic lawmakers.

All four U.S. representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are U.S. citizens.

Three were born in the United States.

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The public response to Trump’s statements appeared to be a little better for him than in 2017, after the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In that instance, Trump’s net approval dropped by about 10 points a week after the Charlottesville rally.

This time, while Democrats and some independents may see clear signs of racial intolerance woven throughout Trump’s tweets, Republicans are hearing a different message, said Vincent Hutchings, a political science and African-American studies professor at the University of Michigan.

“To Republicans, Trump is simply saying: ‘Hey, if you don’t like America, you can leave,” Hutchings said. “That is not at all controversial. If you already support Trump, then it’s very easy to interpret his comments that way.”

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The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Pixabay

By criticizing liberal members of the House, Trump is “doing exactly what Republicans want him to do,” Hutchings said. “He’s taking on groups that they oppose.”

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The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and gathered responses from 1,113 adults, including 478 Democrats and 406 Republicans in the United States. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 points for Democrats or Republicans. (VOA)