US President Donald Trump fired Sally Yates on Monday night. The acting attorney general earlier refused to defend the travel ban imposed by Trump on seven Muslim-majority countries. Many people are comparing the restriction with the “Muslim ban” Trump promised during his campaign.
Yates earlier told Justice Department lawyers that she was not sure if the immigration ban was legal. Trump signed an executive order to hold immigration for refugees from around the world. Seven Muslim-majority countries have been banned from travelling to the United States.
Dana Boente will replace Yates for now. The White House has appointed the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who is ready to enforce the travel ban.
Yates earlier issued a memo, saying that she was not convinced about the legality of the immigration ban. According to her, the Justice Department should act according to its obligation, which is to “stand for what is right.”
“For as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” Yates wrote in a letter.
The White House used strong words in its statement to declare that Yates was fired. The acting attorney general, who was appointed by former US President Barack Obama, had apparently “betrayed” the department as she refused to enforce the legal order, the White House declared in the press release. The statement called Yates “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
For some people, it is not the termination, but the language of the White House statement was more astonishing. Activist DeRay Mckesson called the statement “wild,” while calling Yates a “hero.” According to reporter Jonathon Allen, the White House statement is “an embarrassment to the country.”
Yates, however, was not the only one to oppose the executive order. The Washington Post reported that more than 100 State Department diplomats signed a memo on Monday, objecting to the executive order. The memo is scheduled to be sent to the Dissent Channel of the department. According to the memo, the travel ban is going to make a bad impression about the American people.
Rep. Elijah Cummings lauded Yates for standing up for what she believed in. The Democrat on the House Oversight Committee said that Yates synchronised her conduct with her conscience, CNN reported.
At this point, if you told me 2017 will end with Sally Yates leading an army of rogue U.S. Attorneys against Trump, I would believe you.
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) January 31, 2017
The White House statement re: Sally Yates is wild. Sally Yates is a hero. pic.twitter.com/rUYyWFRKuo
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 31, 2017
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) January 31, 2017