President Obama has battled with Congress for years to close GITMO; now the White House is signaling that the President is open to taking executive action to shut down GITMO.
President Obama will not rule out using his executive authority to shut down the controversial military prison at Guantanamo Bay, an aide said Wednesday.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said it’s possible Obama might try to circumvent Congress if lawmakers reject the president’s latest plan to close the detention facility, which houses foreign terror suspects in Cuba.
“At this point, I would not take anything off the table in terms of the president doing everything that he can to achieve this critically important national security objective,” Earnest told reporters.
Obama called out Congress for blocking him from closing the prison in a signing statement last year, “I have repeatedly called upon the Congress to work with my Administration to close the detention facility at Guantanamo once and for all. Individuals from across the political spectrum have recognized that the facility should be closed. But instead of removing unwarranted and burdensome restrictions that curtail the executive branch’s options for managing the detainee population, this bill continues them.”
The President has been trying to close GITMO for years. On January 22, 2009, as one of his first official acts in office, Barack Obama signed an executive order to close GITMO within one year. On that day Obama said, “This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.”
According to Reuters, the White House will be unveiling a new plan to close GITMO in the next few days. Obama is determined to shut down one of the last remaining stains left on the country from the Bush years before he leaves office.
President Obama has cleaned up a variety of Republican messes during his time in office, but his greatest challenge will be overcoming the congressional cowards on the left and right in Congress, who have repeatedly placed their political survival ahead of doing what is right for the country.
It looks like the time is soon arriving for Obama to pick up his pen and shut the prison down.