Press Releases

Ranking Member Smith Statement on the Nomination of General Mattis for Secretary of Defense

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about reports that Donald Trump is nominating General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense:

December 2, 2016

“General Mattis has served the United States tirelessly, with admirable distinction. However, the unusual circumstances of his nomination raise serious questions about fundamental principles of our Constitutional order. Civilian control of the military is not something to be casually cast aside. So while I like and respect General Mattis a great deal, the House of Representatives would have to perform a full review, including hearings by the Armed Services Committee, if it were to consider overriding the statutory prohibition on recent military officers serving as the Secretary of Defense.

‎"I want to reiterate how much I admire General Mattis. I worked with him personally in the many positions he has held during his service. We have a close personal relationship, and I consider him an outstanding individual and officer. ‎I will be having close conversations with him in the coming days about how to ensure we maintain civilian control of the military."

Smith Statement on Department of Homeland Security Continued Use of Private Prisons

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to maintain their use of private detention facilities:

December 1, 2016

“Today, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advisory panel has recommended that U.S immigration authorities be directed to maintain their current use of private detention facilities. I am extremely disappointed by this announcement, as this policy will continue the status quo of systemic problems in our immigration detention system that we know must be fixed.

“Following the reported outcomes of the DHS two-month review, I have requested a meeting with DHS officials to be briefed on the rationale behind this alarming decision. I will continue to fight for polices that will comprehensively reform our flawed detention policy. It is unacceptable for our immigration detention system to be allowed to benefit private corporations at high cost to taxpayers, detainees, and their families.”

“President-elect Trump has continued to produce dangerous and unhinged rhetoric. His recent statement regarding the ‘millions of people who voted illegally’ is completely unacceptable given there is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud. Trump’s actions only serve to undermine the system of government that he is preparing to lead in 50 days.

“This is especially disturbing considering that around the nation there have been widespread voter intimidation tactics and voter suppression laws that kept hundreds of thousands of voters away from the polls in battleground states. These voter identification laws have kept away many of those who do not have access or the resources to obtain particular identification cards that are deemed satisfactory in certain states. President-elect Trump supports these laws that turn away the voices of individuals with low socioeconomic status.”

“I have stated that I will continue to hold President-elect Trump accountable for his actions that have been less than Presidential. I am committed to fighting this administration every step of the way.” 

Congressman Smith Statement Denouncing President-Elect Trump’s Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General:

November 18, 2016

“With the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as the 84th Attorney General for the United States, President-elect Donald Trump has selected a documented racist to be a member of his cabinet.

“Senator Sessions has a long history of disturbing racism. In 1986, Senator Session’s racism kept him from being confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship under President Ronald Reagan. During the confirmation hearings, it became public that Senator Sessions had previously made statements sympathizing with the Ku Klux Klan and viewed both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as “un-American” and “trying to force civil right down the throats of people.”

“The next Attorney General will be tasked with essential role of chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government. Regardless of who the Senate confirms as Attorney General, I will continue to vocally advocate for policies that create a more just criminal justice system, and fight to dismantle structural racism at all levels of our government.” 

Smith Statement Condemning President-Elect Donald Trump's Appointment of Steve Bannon

Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Steve Bannon to the White House staff:

November 16, 2016

“I am extremely disturbed that as one of his first decisions as President-elect, Donald Trump has announced his appointment of Steven Bannon as White House Chief Strategist. Mr. Bannon is the Executive Chairman of the website Breitbart News, where he has repeatedly and aggressively pushed stories that promote Anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism. Under Mr. Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart has served as a “platform for the alt-right,” a movement that supports White Nationalism and openly rejects the value of diversity.

“Following the President-elect’s announcement, leading white nationalists like former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon David Duke have applauded the news of Mr. Bannon’s appointment. In contrast, the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center are strongly opposed to Mr. Bannon’s selection.

“Mr. Bannon’s appointment will serve as a barrier to our country coming together following the election.  As one of President-elect Trump’s top advisors, the White House Chief Strategist will help set the tone for the incoming administration.  The person in this role must be prepared to serve the interests of all Americans, not those of a select few. In recognition of these concerns, I have signed on to a letter, along with 169 of my congressional colleagues which calls on President-elect Trump to rescind his appointment of Mr. Bannon and work to build a diverse White House staff that is committed to the core American values of inclusiveness, diversity, and tolerance.

“I have pledged to hold President-elect Trump accountable from day one, if he continues to divide us as a nation through his appointments to the Presidential Cabinet or through his proposed policies, I pledge to fight him every step of the way.”