UPDATE #2: Backpedal time!
We do love the media attention, but Robert has never supported a ban on Muslims. He supports going “beyond” Mr. Trump’s statements, which singles out Muslims, to instead equally vetting all factors that could present a threat to American lives…
So, Blaha said he wants to “go beyond just Muslims.” That statement would certainly appear to include Muslims. But definitely, tell every reporter in America that what they can plainly see isn’t true. That approach worked out smashingly for Jon Keyser.
Really, how hard is it to choke out the words “I misspoke?”
UPDATE: The Hill’s Lisa Hagen:
A Republican Colorado Senate candidate said this week that he wants to take Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States a step further…
Blaha is part of a crowded GOP field in the June 28 primary to try and unseat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The seat is one of the few GOP targets this cycle as Republicans seek to hold onto their slim Senate majority.
Democrats blasted Blaha’s remarks for taking Trump’s proposal to the “next level.”
“We already knew Robert Blaha was unabashed in his extreme policy positions, but saying banning Muslims from entering the country isn’t taking it far enough is taking extreme to the next level,” Colorado Democratic Party spokesman Chris Meagher said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on real policy solutions, Blaha is adding to the outlandish, offensive, prejudiced rhetoric that is antithetical to our values as a nation.”
Buzzfeed picked up a gem of a tirade from Robert “Bla-ha!” Blaha, a Colorado Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate fighting for relevance in a 5-man race:
Robert Blaha, a Republican primary candidate in Colorado’s Senate race, said on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country doesn’t go far enough.
“I want to go beyond just Muslims,” Blaha said at a GOP meeting in Fremont County. “And I’ll tell you why. The issue is not—the issue is partially a religious issue, but the real issue there is—the real issue is security. The real issue is we do not know who these people are. We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know whether a terrorist state. We do not have the ability as a government right now to vet these people…”
“Until we can properly vet people and know who they are and know where they’re coming from and know what their belief structures are they’re coming out of, we cannot afford to take that risk,” he said.
When Blaha says we “can’t vet these people,” we have to assume he just hasn’t heard about all the ways we do “vet these people” right now. We assume Blaha is principally concerned with refugees like other Republicans who find political advantage in demagoguing this stuff, but the fact is, refugees are much more thoroughly screened than other kinds of visitors to the United States–like tourists. Tourists from abroad constitute a large percentage of the 75 million people who traveled to the United States last year from abroad, and while they’re here they contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy.
Including right here in the year-round alpine playground of Colorado. Is that what Blaha is trying to do? To hurt Colorado’s tourism economy?
Donald Trump is doing enough to damage America’s image in the world, to include desirability as a vacation destination, with his xenophobic scare tactics. For Colorado’s sake, it would be nice if our Republican U.S. Senate candidates weren’t doing their best to ensure our state has the same problem.