In a time where Americans need unity and protection, Joe Biden has made his stance clear: America last.
The White House says that Joe Biden is planning to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where some of the most dangerous al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are being held.
And, he plans to do so by the end of his term.
This would mean suspected terrorists would potentially be brought to prisons on U.S. soil, posing a dangerous threat to Americans.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the intent during a press conference on Friday.
“That certainly is our intention,” she said after she was asked about the future of Camp Delta.
“And we are three weeks in, I realize, at a certain point I can’t say that anymore, but we are still just three and a half weeks in, so we are undertaking an NSC process, which is how it should work. Through that, to work with the interagency, to assess the current state of play that the Biden administration has inherited from the previous administration,” she added.
“I would note that in order to see this process through completely and thoroughly, there are a number of key policies that still need to be filled within the interagency,” she continued.
Former President Barack Obama also promised to close the prison within his first year of office but received backlash from Republicans who did not want to see terrorist suspects transferred to prisons on American soil.
But, Obama still wanted it shut down.
“For many years, it has been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security – it undermines it,” he said in February of 2016.
Later that same year, then-President-elect Donald Trump vowed to keep the installation open, NPR reports.
“We’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me,” Trump said.
Currently, there are only about 40 prisoners at the facility. Among those are five men charged with planning and supporting the September 11, 2001 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the believed mastermind.
Though, at its peak in 2003, the facility housed approximately 680 terrorist suspects, BizPacReview reports.
To no surprise, Psaki did not give much detail regarding the timeline of the closure. She said officials from several agencies would be involved in the “robust” review process that is currently underway.
“There are many players from many different agencies who need to be part of this policy discussion about the steps forward,” she said.
But, this doesn’t come as a total surprise. Biden said during his campaign that he supported closing the facility. Defense Secretary Lloyd Benson also said he wanted to see the facility shut down.
“Guantanamo has provided us the capability to conduct law of war detention in order to keep our enemies off the battlefield, but I believe it is time for the detention facility at Guantanamo to close,” he said.
Just like during Obama’s presidency, Republicans are already speaking out against the idea.
“The Democrats’ obsession with bringing terrorists into Americans’ backyards is bizarre, misguided, and dangerous,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Friday. “Just like with President Obama, Republicans will fight it tooth and nail.”