PROJO:  Interfaith rally at R.I. Holocaust Memorial condemns anti-Semitic acts

PROJO: Interfaith rally at R.I. Holocaust Memorial condemns anti-Semitic acts

PROVIDENCE — Some 300 people of various faiths and backgrounds gathered in the cold Sunday by the Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial to condemn recent acts of anti-Semitism around the country and share a warm message of unity against hatred.

Imam Mufti Ikram, of the Rhode Island Council for Muslim Advancement, set the tone for the afternoon rally with an opening prayer: “We are here to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters,” he said. “We ask you to replace the hatred of the few with the mercy and compassion in us all.”
Ehsun Mirza, a critical-care doctor at Kent Hospital who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1999, organized Sunday’s rally after news last week of Jewish cemeteries being vandalized in St. Louis and Philadelphia and some 120 bomb threats called in to Jewish schools and community centers, including the Jewish Community Center in Providence.

“I want to make sure that everyone understands that Jews are part of this community and any threat on them is a threat to our community and we will stand beside them,” said Mirza. “We will not give in to this hateful rhetoric. We are stronger together.”

The rally drew a variety of religious representatives and elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and U.S. Representatives James Langevin and David Cicilline. They all delivered a similar message: that persecution of one religious group must be soundly denounced by all.

Cicilline took the theme further politically, saying “every American” has the responsibility to condemn these acts of hate against a religious minority “including the president.”

But President Donald Trump has “suggested that Jews might be responsible” for some of the anti-Semitic acts, Cicilline said, and he criticized the president as well for implementing an “unconstitutional” travel ban “based on religion.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo told the crowd, many of whom had donned yellow ribbons of friendship, that “we are lucky to live in a state founded on religious [freedom] and strong enough to stand here against hate.”
She quoted from a 1790 letter that President George Washington wrote to the Jewish congregation in Newport that had established the nation’s first synagogue: “To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”
Members of Rhode Island’s Jewish community thanked the hundreds of people who turned out for their unwavering support.

“This is a beautiful display of love,” said Mitzi Berkelhammer, chairwoman of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. “And we are grateful to all of you.”

Rabbi Sarah Mack, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, said, “Let the lessons of the past teach us; we will not stand idly by… We will not allow racism and hatred in our beloved Rhode Island.

“This,” she said, referring to the shivering but smiling crowd, “is what ‘Never Again’ looks like.”

Valley Breeze: Ponaganset High students advocate for inclusion in high school setting

Valley Breeze: Ponaganset High students advocate for inclusion in high school setting

GLOCESTER – Two weeks ago, among the pinstripe suits and bureaucrats of Capitol Hill, stood two Ponganset High School students, brushing shoulders with lawmakers and leaders in an effort to promote the integration of students with intellectual disabilities in public institutions. Leeann Phillips and Sarah Charbonneau were the two students asked by Special Olympics of Rhode Island CEO Dennis DeJesus to head to Washington D.C., along with Ponaganset teacher Jennifer Paolantonio, for the Special Olympics 15th annual Capitol Hill Day.

Their goal was to share how inclusion and acceptance could be promoted in the high school atmosphere.

“They felt we embodied that better than any school in the state,” Paolantonio said.

Phillips is a 20-year-old who lives with Down Syndrome and is part of a program at Ponaganset that integrates and assimilates students with special needs with the rest of the student population.

For Phillips, who has been a Special Olympics participant since she was a kid, the Unified sports program at the school has been especially important. The program brings together Special Olympics athletes and classmates in school as teammates on a unified team. It’s one of the main activities that Phillips says helps her make friends and just have fun, like every high school student.
But Phillips has been an advocate for herself long before her trip to Washington.

Two years ago, on National Down Syndrome Awareness Day, she gave a presentation to her school about the genetic condition.

Last year, she helped organize the “Spread the word to end the word” campaign at Ponaganset High School, which asked students to make a pledge of respect, instead of using the offensive and outdated slur for people with Down Syndrome – “retarded.”

Charbonneau is one of the students who took that pledge to spread inclusivity, and she happens to be Phillips’ teammate with Unified sports.

“I wanted to be a part of it from the start,” Charbonneau said of her involvement with Unified.

When the pair went to Washington D.C, they met Congressman David Cicilline, Congressman Jim Langevin, DeJesus, and even Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

“I cannot believe the kind of commitment and dedication it takes to compete,” DeVos said at a gathering that week.

While Phillips enjoyed the work, when asked which part of the excursion she liked most, she focused on friendship.

“Probably hanging out with Sarah and Ms. Paolantonio,” Phillips said.

Charbonneau will be pursuing a nursing degree in the fall, and continuing her volunteerism.

As for Phillips, she won’t be turning away from the spotlight any time soon.

“My dream is to be famous,” Phillips said.

Politico: House Democrats plan to troll Trump at big speech

Politico: House Democrats plan to troll Trump at big speech

By Heather Caygle

House Democrats are seizing on President Donald Trump’s first major speech to Congress Tuesday as an opportunity to troll the new president in prime time.

Many of the same Democrats who boycotted Trump’s inauguration are choosing not to skip his first address to Congress as president, instead opting to bring guests directly affected by the administration’s controversial policies on immigration and refugees and Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare.
“It’s my hope that gallery is going to look like America,” said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who is leading an effort to have his colleagues bring diverse guests Tuesday and will be joined by Rhode Island Dr. Ehsun Mirza, a Muslim-American born in Pakistan. “It’s another reminder to the president that he’s not the arbiter of patriotism.”

The effort is designed to put a human face on Trump’s immigration and refugee policies — and perhaps steal a bit of the spotlight from the president’s big speech. Though it’s unlikely to resonate much beyond Tuesday night, members said doing something is better than nothing.

Langevin started urging fellow Democrats to invite guests affected by Trump’s policies when the administration unexpectedly rolled out a travel ban for seven Muslim countries. Trump has since said he’ll issue a similar executive order that can withstand legal challenges soon.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) invited Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi interpreter who worked with the U.S. army for a decade overseas and was detained before the travel ban was struck down by federal courts.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) will be accompanied by Banah Alhanfy, a young Iraqi woman who was temporarily separated from her family, including her Iraqi-interpreter father, because of the executive order.
Langevin expects 10 to 15 of his colleagues and their guests to participate in a press conference railing against Trump’s policies Tuesday.

Several other lawmakers are focusing on the administration’s recent moves to beef up immigration enforcement, which Democrats warn is just the beginning stages of mass deportations.

“We’re trying to not just tell the president, but we’re trying to tell the country, apparently tolerance and justice issues require ongoing lessons,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said.
Quigley is one of a handful of members inviting a so-called “Dreamer,” an undocumented immigrant brought here as a minor, to Trump’s speech. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) are also bringing Dreamers as guests.

Trump has said Dreamers are safe from deportation, despite the administration’s efforts to expand immigration enforcement elsewhere, but many Democrats have said they don’t trust the president to not change his mind later.

Arizona Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego are bringing the children of an undocumented immigrant who was recently deported during a routine check-in with enforcement officials.

Other lawmakers have invited Muslim guests who have been victims of hate crimes.

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s guest is Aneelah Afzali, a Muslim-American and longtime local community activist. Afzali’s local mosque was vandalized after the election.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (N.Y.) has invited Sarker Haque, a Queens business owner who was attacked in his store in 2015, allegedly by a man claiming he wanted to “kill Muslims.”

More than a dozen Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats are bringing constituents who would be affected by Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.

And Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) is leading a separate effort encouraging members to invite law enforcement officials and first responders to call attention to Republican efforts to roll back gun restrictions in the post-Obama era.

“There’s been some pretty troubling action coming out of Congress in regard to [guns],” Thompson said in an interview.

Congress recently sent a bill to the president’s desk that would roll back restrictions on mentally ill senior citizens buying guns. Thompson said other GOP efforts to push legislation that would circumvent state laws on concealed carry permits and allow the purchase of gun silencers over the counter are just as troubling.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, whose Connecticut district includes Newtown, along with Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), are participating in Thompson’s effort and will join him at a Tuesday press conference.

“We’re trying to be proactive here and let folks know what the Trump administration and what the Republican Congress is pushing,” said Thompson, who chairs the caucus’ gun violence task force. “I’m a glass is half full kind of guy but this is something that I’ve never experienced before.”

NBC10: Area activists hold rallies in Rhode Island

NBC10: Area activists hold rallies in Rhode Island

By Jared Pelletier

Hundreds of people attended two separate events in Providence on Saturday where activists spoke out against President Donald Trump.

On Saturday morning, members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation hosted a “Protect Our Care” rally at Rhode Island College in Providence.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act spoke in an effort to urge Republican lawmakers to not repeal or replace what’s often referred to as “Obamacare.”

“This delegation, we hear you. We hear you and we’re ready to fight for you,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

At Hope High School in Providence Saturday afternoon, a group called “Resist Hate RI” hosted a community meeting.

People who are anti-President Trump attended workshops focusing on several issues.

This was the fourth community meeting event the group has held.

“Part of what we’re trying to do here is make change right here in Rhode Island, There are laws in the state that we need to change. We need to enact protections for reproductive rights,”

said Craig O’Connor, Rhode Island Director of Public Policy and Government Relations with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

Organizers say the purpose of the event was to educate people about getting involved with political activism.

According to organizers, approximately 800 people attended the community event at Hope High School.

Buzzfeed: A Democratic Congressman Wants To Consolidate The Russia Investigations

Buzzfeed: A Democratic Congressman Wants To Consolidate The Russia Investigations

By Lissandra Villa

WASHINGTON — A House Democrat has introduced a resolution calling for a joint House and Senate committee on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin introduced the resolution Tuesday afternoon to consolidate several different investigations into foreign interference in the election already in progress in Congress. Several committees in Congress have already said they are investigating.

“There are multiple investigations going on right now that poses potential jurisdiction barriers or battles,” Langevin told BuzzFeed News. “A joint subcommittee would cut across all jurisdictional barriers and bounds and would streamline the investigation.”

The need for this joint committee has grown more urgent given Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation from the role of national security adviser in President Donald Trump’s administration, Langevin said.

Democrats have been calling for an independent, nonpartisan commission since December —legislation that Langevin said he would support in addition to the joint committee he is hoping to establish— but have failed to get Republicans on board with the idea.

In the House, Republicans have said they think more investigation into the matter would be redundant. In addition to the House’s intelligence committee, the Senate’s foreign affairs and armed services committees and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism are also looking into the matter. In the Senate, there are Republicans who say the growing number of congressional arms looking into Russia is growing cumbersome.

A number of Republicans have already dismissed the idea of a bicameral commission, including House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and chairman of the House intelligence committee Rep. Devin Nunes.

“It just makes so much sense to do this in a comprehensive, streamlined way since it’s already happening right now in a disjointed way,” Langevin said. He added he has had preliminary discussions with senators.

The resolution says the joint committee would be made up of 16 members, four from both parties in the House and Senate. The committee would be authorized to call hearings and would have access to relevant materials.

PROJO:Democrats’ guests will promote diversity at Trump speech

PROJO:Democrats’ guests will promote diversity at Trump speech

By Karen Lee Ziner

When President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time on Feb. 28, Dr. Ehsun Mirza of East Greenwich will be Congressman James Langevin’s honored guest.

But not just any guest.

Mirza, a critical-care doctor at Kent Hospital who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan, has been a prominent voice in Rhode Island’s Muslim community. He is on Langevin’s Diversity Advisory Committee and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s Muslim-American Advisory Board.

Langevin has invited Mirza as part of a Democratic effort to show support for “marginalized communities” by inviting guests who have — despite discrimination — made positive impacts.

Joining the Langevin-led effort are Representatives David Cicilline (RI), Jared Polis (CO), Judy Chu (CA), Cedric Richmond (LA), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM). Cicilline expects to name his guest later this week or next, a spokesman said.

Langevin said, “As a candidate for President, Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a disability and made statements that were offensive to so many Americans, including women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, immigrants, and people of differing faiths. Once he assumed the highest office in the land, his first order of business was to close our borders to immigrants and refugees, particularly those from Muslim-majority countries.”

Langevin said diversity “makes our nation stronger, and I believe it should be celebrated. I am proud to call Dr. Mirza a friend, and I hope that his presence on February 28th will serve as a reminder to the President that true Americans come in every color and creed — and not all are born here.”

Mirza said Monday, “This is so historic. I don’t have words to describe that I will be part of history. It is truly an honor to be there regardless of what my position is.”

A U.S. citizen, Mirza said he and his family and friends in the Muslim community “are here trying their best to make a living and make this nation strong. We are dedicated Americans. Regardless of whether we are Muslims, conservatives, liberals or however we identify ourselves — there is one thing common in all of us; that is, we are loyal to this nation.”

Trump’s “dehumanizing rhetoric” hurts, Mirza said. “So that’s why I’m going. Maybe Mr. Trump will see me. Maybe he will shake my hand. Maybe he will change his mind. Maybe.”

Cicilline, who co-chairs the LGBT Equality Caucus, said Trump’s campaign for president, his Cabinet picks and first actions in office have left millions of Americans “fearful of what his administration will mean for their families and their communities.”

Cicilline added, “Our nation’s strength lies in its ability to accept and celebrate the differences among us, and it is my hope that our guests remind the President that, no matter what, we will always stay true to our fundamental values.”

JNS: US-Israel cybersecurity ties grow as common enemies move battlefield online

JNS: US-Israel cybersecurity ties grow as common enemies move battlefield online

By Ariel Ben Solomon

Israel’s standing as a global cybersecurity powerhouse advanced in recent weeks, with the U.S. House of Representatives passing new legislation that would improve American-Israeli cooperation in that sector.

“Cybersecurity is the preeminent national security issue of the Information Age. Working together with our allies will be essential to preserving our collective defense in this new domain,” U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) told

“Israel is already a leader on cybersecurity, and by enhancing collaboration, we will be able to push the frontiers in protecting our respective homelands,” he said.

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) and Langevin introduced the United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2017 (H.R. 612), which passed in the House Jan. 31. The measure creates a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development projects. Under the legislation—which resulted from a visit to Israel last May by a congressional delegation including Ratcliffe and Langevin—the secretary of homeland security would determine research parameters with an advisory board of American and Israeli members.

Ratcliffe, who chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, said, “After Jim and I traveled to Israel last year to discuss this important aspect of our national security with top officials, we defined key areas where we could boost our collaboration to strengthen our countries’ cybersecurity posture.”

The legislation’s advancement comes as cybersecurity is one of the world’s fastest-growing security fields—not just for governments, but also for terrorist groups.

In January, Israeli security authorities revealed a Hamas operation on social networks attempting to lure Israel Defense Forces soldiers into downloading viruses by using fake accounts with pictures of attractive young women. A number of soldiers fell for the trick and downloaded the viruses.

The Hamas-funding nation of Iran, meanwhile, tested its cyberwarfare systems in a Feb. 4 drill that intended to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions” that the U.S. levied against the Islamic Republic a day earlier, according to Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps website.

Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors jihadist activity online, told that the new legislation is an important development for bilateral relations in the cybersphere.

“Israel and the U.S. share the same enemies in the cyber realm, consisting of both jihad groups as well as hacktivist groups associated with the likes of [the international hacker network] Anonymous, who also target the Jewish community worldwide online,” said Stalinsky.

Gabi Siboni, head of the Cyber Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, told that cooperation in the constantly changing cybersecurity sector is not Israel’s most important partnership area with the U.S., with the top areas remaining intelligence and other forms of defense cooperation, yet cybersecurity ties are rising in importance.

Regarding terror groups’ use of cyberspace to launch attacks, Siboni said, “They are doing as much as they can, but for now are mainly manipulating social media platforms to promote their interests.”

“It is premature to speak of these groups launching complex cyberattacks, though they are trying to gain this capability,” he said. “Things are changing as we speak.”

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Jewish state’s largest aerospace and defense company, is adapting to that shifting landscape. The company announced this month that it is making significant gains in the cybersecurity field, with contracts totaling more than $100 million in 2016.

IAI created a cyber division, appointing Esti Peshin as its general manager, and works on cyber-related solutions in the technology areas of intelligence, monitoring, identification and combating cyberthreats.

“We consider cyber to be a strategic field of activity and a growth-engine at IAI, and expect it to continue to expand significantly in the coming years,” IAI President and CEO Joseph Weiss said in a statement, adding that the company “will continue to invest in cyber companies and research and development centers in order to continue to expand in this field.”

Israel hosted Cybertech 2017, the world’s second-largest cybertechnology exhibition, from Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the gathering that it is “no coincidence that you are here in Israel” and “not an accident” that the Jewish state is a world leader in cybersecurity.

“I think we’re truly on the cutting edge of this new technology and we’ve had many successes in ensuring our security,” said Netanyahu. “It’s not an accident, as one would say. It’s not an accident that in the froth and gushing of this entire Middle East and beyond, Israel is a secure and safe environment. We have invested in our security in creative ways, successful ways…We stand, all of us, at the nexus of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. Great opportunities, but also great challenges. And in Israel, we’re exploiting these opportunities and we’re meeting these challenges.”

In a further sign of the shared U.S.-Israel vision on cybersecurity, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder told conference attendees that “in Michigan, we also have a national service cyber unit, much like the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). We established the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, gathering talented individuals who can respond if anything occurs, which I am very excited about, because I believe it is the forefront of the future.”

As they deepen their cybersecurity ties, Israel and the U.S. may also be well-served to keep an eye on regional developments such as the ongoing Iranian-Saudi cyberwar. According to a recent report by the McClatchy chain of American newspapers, Iran and Saudi Arabia “have been lobbing digital artillery fire at each other in a simmering conflict” that started when Iranian hackers destroyed more than 30,000 computers belonging to the Saudi Aramco energy company. The cyberwar flared up in January, with Saudi Arabia issuing an “urgent call” to domestic network systems operators to be on alert for Iranian cyberattacks.

“As the Trump administration casts about for a cybersecurity policy,” wrote McClatchy national security reporter Tim Johnson, “the byte battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia may well be a harbinger for conflicts to come.”

The Hill: Reps urge Trump administration to fix cyber trade agreement

The Hill: Reps urge Trump administration to fix cyber trade agreement

By Joe Uchill

A bipartisan slate of representatives with cybersecurity chops is pressuring President Trump’s top national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to change an export agreement many believe weakens international cybersecurity.  

The Wassenaar Arrangement is an annual nonbinding agreement among around 40 nations that creates export policies for civilian technologies with military uses.

In 2013, Wassenaar made efforts to add militarized spyware to that list.

But the rules did not take the subtleties of cybersecurity into account, and some of its restrictions can prevent the sharing of cybersecurity research and information about threats.

In 2015, 125 members of Congress wrote a letter to national security adviser Susan Rice to pressure the State Department to renegotiate the arrangement. On Friday, seven key representatives sent a letter her successor, Flynn, to do the same.

“The U.S. stands only to disadvantage itself strategically and economically against foreign competitors by subjecting its firms to the administrative burden involved in applying for an export license each time they wish to conduct simple information sharing activities with international subsidiaries, partners, or clients,” reads the letter.

Signing the letter were Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus; Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on cybersecurity; House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.); House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah); and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), chairman of the Oversight subcommittee on information technology.

The House initially pushed for Rice’s involvement because the State Department appeared hesitant to renegotiate an agreement already implemented in nearly all of the other Wassenaar countries.

In 2016, State renegotiated the rules, but critics felt the changes left many of the same problems as the 2013 version.

The letter says Flynn should quickly reconvene an interagency force to develop a firm stance for Wassenaar’s 2017 plenary. Action is urgent, it says, because proposals for agenda items are due this month. The representatives ask Flynn for an update no later than Friday of next week.

RINPR: RI Lawmakers Applaud Appeals Court Decision To Not Reinstate Travel Ban

RINPR: RI Lawmakers Applaud Appeals Court Decision To Not Reinstate Travel Ban

Rhode Island lawmakers commended the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to continue to block President Donald Trump’s travel ban Thursday night.

Congressman Jim Langevin said, “Today’s appeals court ruling supports what I know to be true: that President Trump’s executive action is unconstitutional and un-American.”

“This was a rebuke of President Trump’s Muslim ban and a win for our independent judiciary,” said Sen. Jack Reed. “They made the right call.”

The travel ban affecting seven predominantly Muslim countries drew criticism from voters and lawmakers across the country. Protests erupted in Logan International and airports across the country the weekend of the ban’s rollout, questioning its constitutional merits.

President Trump defended the executive order in a series of tweets arguing the need to keep the country safe from terrorism. Lawmakers like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said it did the opposite.

“If anything, it [travel ban] gives terrorists a convincing sales pitch to new recruits, that the President’s religious test is evidence that America is a hating, anti-Muslim country,” said Whitehouse.

The federal appeals court is not the end of the legal battle for the ban. President Trump has already tweeted his intentions to fight the decision in court.

For Sen. Reed, Thursday’s ruling is indicative of the executive order’s legal and moral standing.

“The President should rescind this executive order and start working toward a more rational policy that will actually make us safer without undermining our principles,” said Reed.

PROJO: R.I. delegation applauds court’s refusal to reinstate travel ban

PROJO: R.I. delegation applauds court’s refusal to reinstate travel ban

By Katherine Gregg

PROVIDENCE — “This was a rebuke of President [Donald] Trump’s Muslim ban and a win for our independent judiciary. They made the right call,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed Thursday night after a federal appeals court refused to reinstate Trump’s executive order temporarily barring travelers from seven predominantly Muslin countries — and refugees — from entering the United States.

Trump vowed Thursday to contest the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, tweeting at 6:35 p.m.: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Reed, D-R.I., acknowledged that “This is not the end of the legal road, the Trump Administration could appeal. But I think the legal and moral case is clear. The President should rescind this executive order and start working toward a more rational policy that will actually make us safer without undermining our principles.”

Here are comments from other Rhode Island delegation members:

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline: “President Trump’s Muslim Ban is not a national security strategy. It does not make our country safer. It jeopardizes the safety of our brave men and women in uniform. It makes it harder for intelligence operatives to collect information to keep America safe.”

“The president is not a king,” said Democrat Cicilline. “Our system of checks and balances ensures the judiciary can intervene when a president oversteps their authority, which President Trump clearly has done.”

“The president should stop listening to Steve Bannon. He should get serious about protecting our country in a way that upholds our values.”

U.S. Rep. James Langevin: “Today’s appeals court ruling supports what I know to be true: that President Trump’s executive action is unconstitutional and unAmerican.

“We have strong vetting processes in place for immigrants coming to America,” the 2nd District Congressman, a Democrat, said. “The most intense checks are given to refugees — many of whom are women and children fleeing unspeakable violence. The president’s claims that visitors from these Muslim majority nations are pouring into our country with malicious intent are factually inaccurate and serve only to fan the flames of intolerance.

“We cannot let fear alter the principles of religious freedom and equality that this nation was built upon, and I applaud the appeals court for this swift and just decision.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: “Tonight, the Ninth Circuit denied the Trump administration’s appeal and joined the growing list of authorities questioning the legality of this order and whether it does anything to make us safer. That’s because it doesn’t make us safer. If anything, it gives terrorists a convincing sales pitch to new recruits, that the President’s religious test is evidence that America is a hating, anti-Muslim country.”

“‎Right now, the President is all-caps on Twitter. I hope he calms down, respects the constitutional judiciary, and considers whether maybe this travel ban wasn’t such a great idea.”

Earlier, Reed posted an uncharacteristically sharp retort on Twitter to Trump’s latest round of criticism of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Responding to McCain’s public comments about the United States’ Jan. 28 raid against al-Qaida militants in central Yemen that killed several women, children and a Navy SEAL, Trump tweeted: “Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in — bogged down in conflict all over the place.”

Reed’s retort: “You know what really emboldens the enemy? An uninformed & inexperienced leader who tries to bully Americans while cozying up to [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin.”

On Thursday, the appeals court upheld the ruling last week of U.S. District Judge James Robart that placed Trump’s temporary travel ban on hold.

While federal immigration law gives the president broad authority, lawsuits across the country have alleged that Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order ran afoul of the Constitution in that it was aimed at Muslims.