Congressman Sean Duffy explains statement on white terrorism

By  | 

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- In an interview with affiliate WSAW on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, explained his reasoning behind comments he made on national television Tuesday.

During a live interview on CNN's "New Day," Duffy said that "there is a difference" between the terrorist act at a Quebec, Canada, mosque last month, when a white male killed six Muslims while praying, and the terrorist acts committed by radical Islamic groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Duffy said Thursday, that Islamic terrorism is different because the terrorists are backed by an organization bent on entering the United States and causing harm.

"We're in a situation where you have ISIS, it's a global movement, it's a structure of a government. They sell oil. They take hostages and sell them for cash. They have a whole infrastructure where they take sex slaves. A horrible group of people that have land mass, organization and are a global movement. It's those people who are trying to get into America that we can adequately vet," said Duffy.

Duffy's comments on CNN caused criticism from Democrats across the country including South Carolina, where nine people were killed in a Charleston church by gunman Dylan Roof in June 2015.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison released a statement after Duffy's remark.

"This is the misguided view that leads to discriminatory and counterproductive overreactions to some acts of terrorism, while others are downplayed as unfortunate occurrences that couldn't have been prevented, despite the perpetrators' adherence to a similarly extreme and dangerous ideology," read part of the statement.

Thursday, Duffy further explained his CNN comments in relation to President Trump's 90-120 day travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying that the United States can't vet terrorists who live in the country, but can better vet those who do not.

"The distinction that I was making is that you have terrorists, radicals that are trying to infiltrate the refugee program. It's my job to make sure that the president has the tools he needs to keep us safe," said Duffy.

In central Wisconsin, Democrats also are criticizing Duffy's comments.

Marathon County Democratic Party Chair Nancy Stencil said the United States already has a refugee vetting process that has largely worked and the President and Congress should work on improving the existing process, rather than instituting a travel ban.

"Could it use some tweaks? Probably, for the most part, what we have in place now is very good. It's not easy to just step into this country," said Stencil.