Rodne stands by controversial Syrian refugee remarks

by: Essex Porter Updated:

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SNOQUALMIE, Wash. - A state representative from Snoqualmie is not backing away from remarks some say show bigotry towards Muslims.         

French authorities say one of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks had a fake Syrian passport, and lawmaker Jay Rodne wants to keep Syrian refugees out of Washington state.

“We cannot differentiate between the innocent refugee who want to come to our shores and live in peace with the individual who is a terrorist who wants to exploit our freedoms and use those freedoms against us to do us harm,” Rodne said.

But Rodne faces sharp criticism for this Facebook post.

Seattle Rep. Brady Walkinshaw is the son of a Cuban woman, who sought asylum from the Castro regime.

“When you see comments that are loaded with bigotry toward immigrant communities in our own state in the past 15-20 years, it strikes a chord with a lot of us,” he said

A colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves who served in Iraq and Kuwait, Rodne insists he isn't trying to paint all Muslims with the brush of terrorism.

Asked if looking back, that his Facebook remark goes too far, Rodne responded. “No, all of my comments were in the context of ISIS.” 

Separately, Pierce County Republican Sen. Steve O'Ban and 13 other colleagues have sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to pause and get more information.

“It isn't just simply trusting a federal government that I am deeply concerned is not necessarily committed to a strong vetting process,” O’Ban said.

But Inslee remains committed.

“It is right, because we have an American tradition of being a place of refuge,” the governor said.

The Washington Democratic Party has demanded that Rodne be removed from his seat on the House Judiciary Committee, but he says he's going to stay.