Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

One response to “Kilmartin and 16 other AGs rebuke Trump’s immigration executive order”

  1. Randall Rose

    The excuse given by Attorney General Kilmartin’s spokeswoman dodges the issue. After Trump pushed through a kind of Muslim ban through executive order, 16 of Kilmartin’s fellow state Attorneys General issued a joint statement promising to fight it, and Kilmartin was not originally one of them. The excuse by his spokeswoman Amy Kempe looks fishy. She says “It was a matter of timing and coordination with 16 different offices and getting sign off on the final statement within a very compressed window. He supported the initiative from the start and received the final statement for sign off late.” Everything in the quote from Kilmartin’s spokeswoman sounds more or less compatible with the idea that Kilmartin didn’t get around to deciding to participate in this statement until after the statement was first issued. When the spokeswoman said “He supported the initiative from the start”, is there actually any evidence that he told the other state AGs that he wanted to sign their statement before it was issued? It sounds like quite possibly he didn’t even tell them “I want to join in issuing this statement” until after their statement went out. When you’re dealing with officials who are as powerful as state Attorneys General, they tend to be very careful about having their staff coordinate their public statements, and making sure that when the news breaks they’re in it. A joint letter of state Attorneys General would typically be circulated to potential signers in advance, giving them a chance to decide whether to sign before a press release goes out. Attorneys General know that they have to have staff people who are alert to breaking news opportunities, even on a weekend, and the AG always makes sure he can be reached by these staff people when it’s a question of making the news.

    AG Kilmartin’s spokeswoman makes clear that there was a “window” to sign on to this statement which Kilmartin missed, and she gives the excuse that this window was “very compressed”. But it can’t have been too compressed, because 16 other state AGs met the deadline. When Kilmartin’s spokeswoman says “He received the final statement for sign off late”, is that because he didn’t even tell the other AGs at first that he was willing to join the group of those most interested in crafting a joint statement? I can’t be sure exactly what happened, and maybe he’ll choose to blame it on negligence by his staff or someone else, but it certainly looks plausible that he may not have decided to sign this statement until after he saw it hit the news and got a good response — nothing in his spokeswoman’s quote really denies that. In any case, his office made it clear that he missed the deadline, so he can’t have been too interested initially.

    I think this is telling. As lots of people involved in civil rights know, Attorney General Kilmartin is in many cases the most powerful politician opposing a number of pro-civil rights and pro-civil liberties initiatives at the state level. The fact that the signs suggest he wasn’t too interested initially in joining this statement is completely consistent with that pattern, and it’s not as if he’s been a big voice for honest government either. I hope we get a better RI Attorney General in next year’s elections.

    VN:R_U [1.9.20_1166]
    Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.