Stewart talks Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’

Chris StewartRep. Chris Stewart says he’s worried about some of the perceived ethical lapses coming out of the Donald Trump White House, but he thinks those will fade as he grows into the presidency.

Stewart says his fellow members of Congress are terrified of breaching ethical standards, and he hopes Trump’s people adopt the same attitude.

“I think the white house should have many of the same standards and attitudes we have about it and let’s not get close to a line where people would be uncomfortable.”

When asked about the exhausting pace of the first few weeks of the Trump administration, Stewart said it seems shocking because Americans aren’t used to politicians keeping their campaign promises.

“It seems to be his modus operandi is kinda ‘shock and awe.’ He just keeps going and going. I think the good news is he’s doing what he promised he would when he was campaigning. The American people are surprised by that because many don’t,” said Stewart. “Many of the policies he’s implementing I agree with.”

Stewart told lawmakers Thursday that he understands that GOP President Donald Trump only wants good for America, but sometimes what the president says and how he says it “aggravates emotions.”

Stewart said the president knows his language may be questioned, and certainly those close to him know it.

But overall, what Trump is trying to do is the right thing.

Stewart, who chairs a House intelligence subcommittee, said that claims that Trump’s immigration ban from seven countries — all majority Muslim — is not really driving some Muslims into ISIS’s arms and creating radical terrorists.

Those going to Syria, for example, to learn to be terrorists are doing so for reasons far beyond America’s immigration policies — except in a “few extreme cases.”

ISIS actually has captured special printing presses upon which the terrorist group makes official passports and travel documents for their would-be terrorists. And several of the terrorists in the Paris attacks were trained by Syria and came into Western Europe as refugees, he said.

Stewart said as a member of the LDS Church — whose members were discriminated against by U.S. government officials in the early years — he is sensitive to the claims of anti-discrimination. But, he added, for 18 months Stewart has been warning that greater care has to be taken for immigrants coming to the U.S. from certain countries, like Syria.

For a certain time — and he can’t say how long, but for now — the Trump immigration ban is an appropriate reaction to real-world concerns, he added.

But what about Trump’s penchant for making statements that are inflammatory or less than truthful?

“Mr. Trump is Mr. Trump. He’s gonna keep tweeting and gonna speak directly to the American people, and he’s gonna say it in ways that it’s ineloquent and that’s just the way he is.”

But, could Trump go too far for his tastes? Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, noted Stewart likened Trump to Mussolini during the presidential campaign and asked the Congressman how far he and his colleagues in Congress were willing to go to make sure that rhetoric doesn’t manifest into reality.

“When Barack Obama did things that were outside his authority, I said he did not have the constitutional power to do so. If a Republican were to do that, I’d say the same thing,” said Stewart. “If the president does things beyond his constitutional authority, I’ll push back. It’s more important than partisanship. It’s my responsibility to speak the truth.”