By Preston Scott
Once again, the highly paid ambassador for People for The American Way (Foundation), Andrew Gillum, is out on his own as a rogue member of the City of Tallahassee Commission. The Mayor has repeatedly gone his own way, without even the courtesy of consulting his fellow elected leaders. This time Mayor Gillum chose to advance the notion that, somehow, Tallahassee will do what it wants with Syrian refugees that could be sent to Florida.
First, he does not have the option. Congress will hash the matter out with President Obama, but should the President go with his patented executive action and send refugees anyway, the Governor has discretion on where they end up…not Mayor Gillum.
In the early 1990’s Governor Lawton Chiles filed a federal lawsuit against the Clinton administration for the exorbitant costs of dealing with Haitian refugees and he declared a State of Emergency. Though the number of refugees this time is different, the principle is the same. Mayor Gillum has no say – if they come, the Governor will determine the course of action.
But it’s easy to forgive Gillum and his naivety; after all he is a young man who really has never done anything outside the world of government and politics, but when he makes statements that are totally unsupported by the testimony of the agencies charged with keeping our nation, state, and city safe – that is where he needs to be vigorously challenged and called out.
To the Tallahassee Democrat (note: Mayor Gillum refuses to answer questions from Tallahassee Reports or WFLA-FM) Mayor Gillum stated, “The U.S. vetting process for refugees is extremely rigorous, extensive, and comprehensive, and allows us to aid those that pose no threat to ourCountry.”
The statement is patently untrue. Reports from the Washington Post to CNN all declare the same. From the President’s own agency leaders, from the Director of the FBI, to the Director of National Intelligence – refugees from Syria cannot be properly vetted. The briefings are so alarming that many Democrats jumped ship and left the President’s barely floating policy disaster, including Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham.
If it had stopped there, we could have just patted the young mayor on the back and said, “Maybe run things by your fellow Commissioners before saying something so foolish.” But no…Gillum doubles down and goes on national television to present his view as ours. In doing so, he damages Tallahassee to potential business leaders across the nation. Regardless of their political philosophy personally, business owners are generally conservative in how they run their businesses and few want to move to a city where the leadership is reckless. Based on local message boards Gillum does not represent the citizens of Tallahassee. However, he seems to be doing a wonderful job of representing People for The American Way.
However, before his most recent appearance on CNN, in the follow-up story in The Tallahassee Democrat, Mayor Gillum said, “I do believe that as time passes on, people sober.” He went on to say, “I think they’ll realize that we’re on the right side of our shared values as Americans and an open and free society that does everything it can to help those who find themselves in trouble or at the margins.”
So the good mayor thinks that those who think differently and believe that we need more security checks and vetting in place before allowing the latest wave of Syrians into the country, state and our city, are not in the correct state of mind and need to see his enlightened view of things. For the record, the last poll of America finds 65%, and growing, disagree with Mayor Gillum.
If the Mayor wants to drop the religion card, as he did on CNN, he can privately sign up for the Nazarene Fund which offers a far more thorough vetting of Syrian Christians. Of course, our President will not support this program instead relying on a UN program.
America is the most generous, welcoming nation in the world. It has been demonstrated time and again. However, we live in very different times. My dad used to say, “It doesn’t take much poison to ruin the meal.” 10,000 Syrians…Arab polling of Syrian refugees shows that 23% of them either like ISIS or are open to supporting them. That means that roughly 2,300 of these Syrians are open to the notion that ISIS and its methods are acceptable. The mayor doesn’t seem bothered by this notion…after-all he has sources in the White House. Yeah, Mayor…what the heck do the FBI, Homeland Security, CIA, and the NSA know?