The Trump regime is discovering the problem with career State Department diplomats: they're pretty good writers with excellent skills of persuasion.
Numerous diplomats have drafted a memo of dissent denouncing President Donald Trump's executive order banning the resettlement of refugees and barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The current draft of the memo, which was obtained by the Lawfare blog, describes Trump's actions as "counterproductive" to its stated goal of protecting Americans from potential terrorist attacks. According to the memo, the order will instead exacerbate relations with the targeted countries.
The State Department confirmed the existence of the memo to Mother Jones on Monday.
"We are aware of a dissent channel message regarding the Executive Order titled 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,'" State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when reached for comment. "The Dissent Channel is a long-standing official vehicle for State Department employees to convey alternative views and perspectives on policy issues. This is an important process that the acting secretary, and the department as a whole, value and respect. It allows State employees to express divergent policy views candidly and privately to senior leadership."
The "dissent channel" was established in the 1970s for career diplomats to confidentially express opposition to the administration's foreign policy.
"We are better than this ban," the draft memo adds. "Looking beyond its effectiveness, this ban stands in opposition to the core American and constitutional values that we as federal employees took an oath to uphold."
From the memo:
The United States is a nation of immigrants, starting from its very origins. The concept that immigrants and foreigners are welcome is an essential element of our society, our government, and our foreign policy. So, too, is the concept that we are all equal under the law and that we as a nation abhor discrimination, whether it is based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. Combined together, that means we have a special obligation to maintain an immigration system that is as free as possible from discrimination, that does not have implied or actual religious tests, and that views individuals as individuals, not as part of stereotyped groups.
The Executive Order frames the ban as a 90-day suspension of entry for these nationals until their countries can set up arrangements to provide adequate information to determine that an individual seeking a benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat. This is a high, vague, and nebulous bar. In some cases, the governments of these countries may be wholly incapable of providing this information; in others, the government may be unwilling. In either case, individual citizens will pay the price, a situation which runs counter to US. values of fair play and offering equal opportunities to all.
How long the State Department gets to keep its dissent channel, well that's really the question now, is it?
In all seriousness, this should be extraordinarily disturbing to folks. State Department dissent channel stuff should be taken pretty seriously, it's there for a reason. The Trump regime's official response? If you don't like it, quit.
Asked about a memo signed by dozens of State Department diplomats opposing the temporary ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US, spokesman Sean Spicer encouraged the federal employees to "either get with the program or they can go."
"The president has a very clear vision. He's been clear on it since the campaign. He's been clear on it since taking office, that he's going to put this safety of this country first. He is going to implement things that are in the best interest of the safety of this country prospectively, not re-actively," Spicer said at the White House. "And if somebody has a problem with that agenda then that does call into question whether or not they should continue in that post or not."
Once again, dissent will not be tolerated in the Trump regime.