By Leon Neyfakh
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken took the opportunity of Tuesday's marathon confirmation hearing for would-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions to offer a moving rebuke of Donald Trump's past comments about Muslim immigrants in the United States—and Sessions' tacit endorsement of those comments.
Franken described how angry it made him when Trump came to Minnesota during the presidential campaign and warned a crowd of supporters about the "problems caused by faulty refugee vetting and large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval." Franken also called out Sessions for saying that Trump's proposed "Muslim ban" was an idea worthy of discussion and, after the attack in Orlando, Florida, last summer, putting out a statement saying that "first-generation American children are susceptible to the toxic radicalization of terrorist organizations."
Franken told the story of visiting a school after Trump's rally in Minnesota and trying to reassure the students there. "These kids did not know what to make of a country—their country—electing a leader who describes them and their families as being worthy of hatred and suspicion," Franken said. "So I did my best to alleviate their fears that day; I told them, 'You're Americans.' I said, 'You kids, you're Americans. Don't be afraid.’ "
Earlier Tuesday, Sessions was asked whether he would "support a law that says you can't come to America because you're a Muslim." He said no.
Watch the video of Franken's remarks above.