President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday meant to punish foreign entities for interfering in US elections, an attempt to demonstrate muscle on an issue he’s been accused of downplaying.
“Today, I took action to protect the integrity of the United States electoral system by signing an Executive Order to ensure that we can swiftly identify and punish any foreign interference in our elections,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday.
“As I have made clear, the United States will not tolerate any form of foreign meddling in our elections.”
The order, which will allow new sanctions against Russian or other foreign actors, was inked on Wednesday morning. The White House hopes the order will help dispel the notion that Trump has allowed election meddling to go unchallenged.
Trump claimed in the written statement that is “implementing the strongest measures to date of any United States President to protect our electoral system.”
Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the move as insufficient, however.
“Today’s announcement by the administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it. The United States can and must do more. Mandatory sanctions on anyone who attacks our electoral systems serve as the best deterrent,” wrote Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida and Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland. The two lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require such mandatory sanctions earlier this year.