David Perdue echoes Donald Trump’s call for ‘extreme vetting’ of U.S. immigrants

Sen. David Perdue in Cleveland. Erica Hernandez/AJC photo.

Sen. David Perdue in Cleveland. Erica Hernandez/AJC photo.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue echoed Republican nominee Donald Trump’s vow to enact “extreme vetting” and a new screening test for arrivals to the U.S., calling it essential to combat Islamic extremism.

The first-term Republican, perhaps Trump’s highest-profile supporter in Georgia, spoke in stark terms Tuesday of the threat of terrorism at home and abroad.

“We’re at war. We’ve been invaded, in my opinion, when you see the rise of homegrown terrorism through the Internet,” said Perdue, invoking some of the Republican concerns about vetting refugees from Syria that became a flashpoint in the presidential race.

“I’m worried about the vetting process from people we have no way of checking into their background. We don’t have that ability in Syria,” he said, adding: “We have to be more vigilant in terms of homegrown terror.”

Trump on Monday called for a new ideological test for immigrants who want to enter the U.S. at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio that would screen out sympathizers of terrorist groups, those with hostile attitudes toward America and “who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.”

“We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” he said. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting.”

It marks an expansion of his December call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the U.S..

Perdue, who enthusiastically endorsed Trump in June, said he struggles with the New York businessman’s choice of words, such as his feud with the family of a slain U.S. Muslim soldier or his assertion that President Barack Obama is the founder of the Islamic State terror group.

But Perdue maintained his support for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying he approached the decision like he would when he was a Fortune 500 executive.

“My answer is it’s a decision between two alternatives and when you’re looking at the alternative, it’s an easy decision,” he said. “We’ve got eight years of failure and I’m picking the high ground, because she’s not offering any solutions.”


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