Tony Evers Criticizes GOP Worries Over Afghan Refugee Vetting as 'Dog Whistle Crap'

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers criticized GOP worries over the vetting process for thousands of Afghan refugees being processed through Fort McCoy as unfounded "dog whistle crap," the Associated Press reported.

Evers, a Democrat, toured the military base being used to house refugees last week, and met with some of the people who had fled Afghanistan. He said Republicans criticizing the vetting process for those refugees are "vastly uninformed."

"Or they like to raise that specter of maybe some of those little kids I saw at Fort McCoy are terrorists or maybe those adults that I saw at Fort McCoy who were working hand in hand with our soldiers and airmen in Afghanistan, somehow they are terrorists even though they've been vetted four or five or six times even before they left Afghanistan," Evers said. "To me, it's dog whistle crap and we don't need any of that."

Evers told WISN-TV that most of the refugees at the base had previously worked with the American government.

"There was some at risk, some of those folks, too," Evers told WISN. "So it was a mixed bag, but they have vetted them several times. They vet them when they get there. They were vetted when they were in Europe. They were vetted when they were in the U.S., so I feel very confident what's happening is the right thing."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Afghan Refugees
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said GOP concerns over the vetting process for Afghan refugees was unfounded "dog whistle crap." Above, Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport on August 27, 2021, in Dulles, Virginia, after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have criticized the vetting process and warned about terrorists being allowed into the country. After a tour of the base last week, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson questioned whether the refugees at Fort McCoy had been fully vetted and said White House assurances about the process were "lipstick on a pig."

Evers, who made his comments during a Democratic Party bus tour, said he didn't have an update on how many refugees have been sent to Fort McCoy, but that it is capable of housing up to 10,000. On Friday, Wisconsin Republican congressmen toured the base and said there would be 3,000 refugees there by the end of the day.

Public affairs officials at Fort McCoy would not take direct phone calls inquiring about the refugees on Monday and did not immediately respond to emails seeking an update. Fort McCoy is in western Wisconsin, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of La Crosse and the Minnesota border.

As of Friday, the United States and its coalition partners had evacuated more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan since the airlift began August 14, including more than 5,100 American citizens.

Gov. Tony Evers
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called GOP criticism of the vetting process for Afghan refugees unfounded "dog whistle crap." Above, Evers waits to address the virtual Democratic National Convention at the Wisconsin Center on August 19, 2020, in Milwaukee. Melina Mara/Pool/Getty Images