Following President Obama’s announcement that he will fulfill his longstanding promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Capitol Hill lawmakers have been torn between support and opposition. Gwen Ifill talks to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Col.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for their perspectives on the proposed shutdown and what it could mean for the detainees.
President Obama announced plans Tuesday to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, asserting that its existence undermines national security. The proposal -- which would send the facility’s remaining 91 detainees to domestic U.S. sites -- would fulfill the president’s 2008 promise to close the prison, but Congressional Republicans have been vocal in their opposition.
President Obama has never encountered a majority of Americans who agree with him that the prison at Guantanamo Bay should be shuttered. Even a majority of his own party cooled to the idea as he argued year after year to close the facility in Cuba, and after he approved international swaps and transfers that slowly cut the ranks to 91 prisoners.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton agreed on at least one thing in a town hall session Tuesday: Both said they back President Obama's plan to close the U.S. military prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Obama, hoping to finally meet his 2008 campaign pledge, sent Congress a plan Tuesday to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and transfer up to 60 terrorism suspects to a U.S. prison, senior administration officials said Tuesday morning.
"Once they have actually left office, we seem to grow fonder of our ex-presidents... Now, little more than four months before he leaves office, President Obama has begun to get a taste of this phenomenon."
Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor of the "PBS NewsHour." The best-selling author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," Gwen has covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates.