The Obama administration responded to President-elect Donald Trump's Twitter demand that they stop all releases from Guantanamo Bay with a not-so-subtle reminder that Obama will do as he pleases until January 20th.
While declining to cite or confirm specific numbers of prisoners set to be released, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that more detainees will likely be released before the Trump's inauguration. When asked specifically if the White House is taking into consideration Trump's Twitter demand that no further detainees be released, Earnest replied tersely:
No, it will not. He'll have an opportunity to implement the policy that he believes is most effective when he takes office on January 20.
Trump made the demand earlier Tuesday morning:
There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1483464043.0
Here's a rundown of the prisoners left at Guantanamo Bay:
Of the 59 captives currently held at the detention center, 23 are cleared for release to other countries with security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Ten are charged with crimes and the remaining 26 are held as indefinite detainees in the war on terror, or “forever prisoners.” Carter has sent notices to Congress of planned transfers for most, but not all, of the 23 cleared captives that could begin later this week.
Fox News reported the news Wednesday morning:
President Obama rushes to empty Gitmo before leaving office pic.twitter.com/ZRgcCAoCJs
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) January 4, 2017
Trump promised to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay numerous times during his presidential campaign, and he signaled that he was serious about doing so when he chose a former Gitmo commander for his Secretary of Homeland Security.
But if Obama rushes the release of the detainees, it may be that Trump has nothing left to keep Gitmo open for once he arrives in the Oval Office in a few weeks. What may impede Obama is the law passed by Congress that requires 30 day notice for release of a Gitmo detainee and the Congressional requirement that he provide certification that they would not pose a threat to America once freed. Of course, Obama already violated that rule with the controversial Bowe Berghdal exchange, showing exactly how little he cares for that law.