Last night, President Donald Trump fired the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, for her public declaration that the department would not legally defend the president’s controversial immigration executive order known as the Muslim Ban. “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement that said Yates had “betrayed” the Justice Department. “It is time to get serious about protecting our country.”
The New York Times explores what led Ms. Yates to this conclusion:
President Trump’s own words convinced her that his executive order on immigration was intended to single out Muslims, senior officials said. Hours after she refused to defend that order, Mr. Trump fired her.
Ms. Yates, 56, a relative newcomer to Washington, has become a hero to many on the left and the face of a simmering resistance inside the government to Mr. Trump’s administration. After receiving a hand-delivered dismissal letter, she packed up her office around midnight and left the department, a politically divisive moment in a career that until now had earned her bipartisan praise.
“She will be a hero of the American people, a hero of what’s right,” Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, said in 2015 at her confirmation hearing. “She’ll call them like she sees them, and she will be fair, and she will be just.”
Ms. Yates previously remarked: “Religious freedom requires that local government decisions impacting the exercise of that freedom be free of discrimination.”