On his final full day in office, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress Thursday asking them to close the prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after he leaves office — and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) offered a sharp response.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the president pro tempore of the Senate, Obama wrote: “Of the nearly 800 detainees at one time held at the facility, today only 41 remain.”
“There is simply no justification beyond politics for the Congress’ insistence on keeping the facility open,” the president wrote. “They have played politics above the ongoing costs to taxpayers, our relationships with our allies and the threat posed to U.S. national security by leaving open a facility that governments around the world condemn and which hinders rather than helps our fight against terrorism.”
Obama sends letter to Congressional leadership on Guantanamo https://t.co/EtiegLUHCY— Zeke Miller (@Zeke Miller)1484853948.0
As a candidate for president, Obama pledged to close the facility — nicknamed “Gitmo” — but wrote that “politics” and “members of Congress who obstruct efforts to close the facility” prevented him from fulfilling his promise.
“Guantanamo is contrary to our values and undermines our standing in the world, and it is long past time to end this chapter in our history,” Obama added.
When The Hill tweeted out the story of the president's letter, Scott had a one-word response to the president’s plea: No.
No. https://t.co/6MSZ7lAehO— Tim Scott (@Tim Scott)1484856529.0
Scott added that he doesn’t think arguments for closing the prison facility “add up.”
In addition to recidivism rate, here’s why the arguments for closing #Gitmo don’t add up: https://t.co/1i6AlJoETW— Tim Scott (@Tim Scott)1484857109.0
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) also reiterated his opposition to closing Gitmo.
As I've said, not on my watch. https://t.co/Y2uJMHUC3o— Senator Pat Roberts (@Senator Pat Roberts)1484857245.0
Ryan has also repeatedly expressed opposition to closing the prison.