Trump: No more ‘further releases from Gitmo’
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President-elect Donald Trump revived the hot-button topic of Guantanamo Bay Tuesday, warning against further prisoner transfers from the detention facility during the waning days of the Obama administration.
“There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
Trump’s message, consistent withhis campaign promise to keep the facility open and even increase the number of detainees,came shortly after the President-elect criticized House Republicans for prioritizing a vote to gut Congress’ independent ethics panel over other important issues, causing the House GOP to back down on the change.
“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority,” Trump tweeted. “Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS.”
Trump particularly criticized the timing of the vote, which was scheduled for the first day of the new congressional session.
Trump’s tweet on Guantanamo also followed news in December that President Barack Obama is trying to leave as few prisoners there as possible, notifying Congress that the administration intends to transfer out some of the detainees before Trump is sworn in.
In February, Trump told supporters after watching Obama talk about the prison, that he would keep it open and that “we’re gonna load it up,” Trump told supporters in February.
While some detainees have returned to the battlefield, they are released to host countries who agree to take them. The idea is that the host country keeps an eye on those released detainees so they don’t return to terrorism, but there’s no guarantee of success.
Peter Cook, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in response to Trump’s tweet that the department would follow the “appropriate policies” set forth by Obama.
“We’re going to carry out the appropriate policies as set forth by the commander in chief with regard to Guantanamo Bay and the secretary of Defense,” Cook said at a press briefing. The secretary of defense “is going to continue to carry out his responsibilities as appropriate until he’s finished as secretary of defense.”