Rep. Barry Loudermilk, the Cassville freshman and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has not endorsed a presidential candidate, but we can take one off the list -- Donald Trump.
As Loudermilk said on Fox Business Channel on Tuesday when asked about Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.:
"I think I understand what his sentiment was, is that most of the terrorist attacks in this nation in last several years have been by radicalized Muslim extremists. But we have a freedom here, freedom of religion. We have a constitution that every person who takes an elected office here in this nation, and every member of Congress and the president swears to one thing, that we will uphold the constitution.
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"I think his remarks were irresponsible, but we live in an era where you can say anything and get away with it. ...
"I think it's hurtful for the [Republican] Party. I think it's hurtful for the brand."
But Loudermilk, when pressed, would not call for Trump to drop out of the race:
"He has every right to continue to run. If he's going to drop out of the race, that's a decision he has to make. But i think the American people need to pay attention not just to how he's saying things but what he is saying."
Here's the full video:
Interestingly, Loudermilk's first claim to fame was a controversial article after the 9/11 attacks attacking political correctness -- though tame by Trumpian standards -- entitled: This is America; Like It or Leave It.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming, one of the few elected officials in Georgia to endorse Donald Trump, issued a lengthy statement in support of the Muslim ban.
It ended thusly:
Those who claim this unconstitutional overlook an important factor. Who does the U.S. Constitution protect? Last I checked, these rights were reserved for citizens of the United States, not foreign nations."
Creative Loafing quizzed Trump's other Georgia Senate supporter on the issue, but Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, did not believe his man had gone so far:
"I doubt [Trump] was speaking of all Muslims, ones that are already here or ones that enjoy their religions like most of us do in a peaceful manner," he told CL today. (Trump's proposal was a total ban.)
Jones says he supports additional oversight — and potentially even prohibiting entry — for travelers who visited Middle Eastern countries for an extended period of time.
This news from The Associated Press could have implications for Georgia's debate:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that he and the Seminole Tribe have reached a sweeping new gambling deal that would bring in billions to the state while also allowing an expansion of gambling in South Florida.
Scott said that the compact with the tribe that would generate $3 billion for the state over a seven-year period starting in 2017. It must be ratified by the Florida Legislature.
For its part, the tribe gets to keep card games such as blackjack at their casinos across the state, including the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, and to add table games such as roulette and craps.
The deal also allows for the addition of slot machines at the Palm Beach Kennel Club and also leaves an opening for another casino in Miami-Dade as well as create a path for existing tracks in that county and Broward to eventually add blackjack tables as well.
As the hours tick away toward Friday night's federal government shutdown deadline, AP's Andrew Taylor has a good explainer about how the omnibus process goes down. It includes these lines:
Many Republicans want to attach a recently-passed bill — rushed through the House in wake of last month's terror attacks in Paris — to make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. But Obama has threatened a veto of that as well, and the measure is unlikely to be attached to the omnibus, at least as written.
Instead, a bill that passed the House on Tuesday with broad bipartisan backing, which would tighten controls on foreigners entering the U.S., is a likely addition.
That bill would tighten the "visa waiver" program, which allows foreign citizens from certain allied countries to enter the U.S. without a visa. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, was one of only 19 votes against the bill.
Freshman Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, got a bill through the House on Tuesday that would reauthorize the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick.
It was a noncontroversial measure, unlike the interstate battle over expanding the center to add State Department training, rather than build a new facility in Virginia.
Maggie Lee, of Macon Telegraph fame, has put together a cool graphic on refugees in Georgia, detailing their countries of origin and where in the Peach State they end up. Since 2002, Burma, Bhutan and Somalia have sent the most refugees to Georgia.
Last year's Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate is going party-less. Amanda Swafford reports on Twitter: