The 111 hypocrites that backed Trump’s refugee ban and strikes on Syria

Almost all of them said they supported the bombing for humanitarian reasons.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on. (CREDIT: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on. (CREDIT: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

111 members of Congress expressed support for President Donald Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria last week — and also expressed support for the president’s ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants.

Dozens of other lawmakers made no clear statement on the president’s decision to ban Syrian refugees last year, but said they supported last week’s airstrikes.

Trump said he was motivated to authorize Friday’s military action — which was carried out in coordination with France and the United Kingdom — by the “evil and despicable” chemical attack launched by the government in the town of Douma a week earlier. The U.S. president spoke of “mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air” and called Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad a “monster.”

Like Trump, nearly all the members of Congress who said they support the airstrikes also expressed humanitarian concerns for the plight of the Syrian people. But 152 lawmakers tallied by Think Progress either expressed support for, or failed to condemn last year’s Muslim ban, which halted refugee resettlement for 120 days and suspended all Syrian immigrant and non-immigrant visas for 90 days.

ThinkProgress looked through public statements of every member of Congress to determine whether they supported, condemned, or made no clear statement on Trump’s ban last year. ThinkProgress then combed through the public statements of all members who did not explicitly condemn the ban to see whether they expressed support for the airstrikes last week. Neither the ban nor the airstrikes were voted on by Congress.

Lawmakers’ supposed concern for the Syrian people has simply not translated into immigration policy.

Just one week after taking office, Trump imposed a measure indefinitely suspending all Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States. Since then, he has issued two watered down versions of the same ban. All three versions barred Syrian immigrants and non-immigrants, including students, from entering the United States.


The most recent version of this ban is still in place, and unlike earlier versions, is indefinite. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments next week on a legal challenge to the measure.

While there is no longer a specific ban on Syrian refugees, the Trump administration’s immigration policies have led to historically low numbers of refugees being allowed to enter the United States. The United States — which has yet to draw up a coherent strategy on Syria — has accepted only 11 Syrian refugees  this year.

In 2017, 139 members of Congress expressed support for Trump’s refugee ban and also supported the U.S. airstrikes on the al-Shayrat airbase, after a chemical weapons attack by Assad a week prior.

You can see ThinkProgress’ full data set and links to the lawmakers’ statements this year here.

Below is the full list of lawmakers who supported both the Muslim ban and the Syrian airstrikes. All of them are Republican.


Rep. Bradly Byrne

Rep. Robert Aderholt

Rep. Mo Brooks


Rep. Don Young

Sen. Dan Sullivan


Rep. Martha McSally

Sen. John McCain


Rep. Rick Crawford

Rep. French Hill

Rep. Steve Womack

Sen. John Boozman

Sen. Tom Cotton


Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Steve Knight

Rep. Ed Royce

Rep. Ken Calvert

Rep. Darrell Issa


Rep. Scott Tipton

Sen. Cory Gardner


Rep. Matt Gaetz

Rep. Gus Bilirakis

Rep. Vern Buchanan

Rep. Neal Dunn

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart

Rep. Carlos Curbelo

Rep. Ted Yoho

Rep. Ron DeSantis


Rep. Jody Hice

Sen. David Perdue

Sen. Johnny Isakson


Rep. Mike Bost

Rep. Darin LaHood

Rep. Peter Roskam


Rep. Jackie Walorski

Rep. Todd Rokita

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth


Rep. Steve Scalise

Rep. Clay Higgins

Rep. Ralph Abraham

Sen. John N. Kennedy


Rep. Bruce Poliquin

Sen. Susan Collins


Rep. Andy Harris


Rep. David Trott

Rep. Bill Huizenga

Rep. Mike Bishop


Rep. Steven Palazzo


Rep. Ann Wagner

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer

Rep. Sam Graves

Sen. Roy Blunt


Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

Rep. Don Bacon

New Jersey

Rep. Tom MacArthur

Rep. Leonard Lance

New York

Rep. Lee Zeldin

Rep. Daniel Donovan

Rep. John Faso

Rep. Peter King

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Rep. Tom Reed

Rep. Chris Collins

North Carolina

Rep. Ted Budd

Rep. Mark Walker

Rep. David Rouzer

Rep. Richard Hudson

Rep. Robert Pittenger

Sen. Thom Tillis

North Dakota

Rep. Kevin Cramer


Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Rep. Bill Johnson

Rep. Warren Davidson


Rep. Tom Cole

Rep. Steve Russell

Sen. Jim Inhofe


Rep. Lou Barletta

Rep. Lloyd Smucker

Rep. Mike Kelly

Rep. Scott Perry

Sen. Pat Toomey

South Carolina

Rep. Joe Wilson

Rep. Jeff Duncan

Sen. Lindsey Graham

South Dakota

Rep. Kristi Noem

Sen. Mike Rounds


Rep. Phil Roe

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Rep. Diane Black

Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Rep. David Kustoff

Sen. Bob Corker

Sen. Lamar Alexander


Rep. Jodey Arrington

Rep. Ted Poe

Rep. Pete Olson

Rep. Roger Williams

Rep. Michael Burgess

Rep. Pete Sessions

Rep. Brian Babin

Sen. Ted Cruz


Rep. Chris Stewart

Rep. Jason Chaffetz

Rep. Mia Love


Rep. Rob Wittman

Rep. Scott Taylor


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers


Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. Ron Johnson


Rep. Liz Cheney

With additional reporting from Elham Khatami.

This dataset has been updated with additional context about Rep. Curbelo’s views that Syrian refugees should not be summarily rejected, but should be allowed in the country as long as the U.S. government demands “intense vetting.”