Throughout World War II, the United States held more than 100 thousand Japanese Americans in internment camps after President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. The last internment camp wouldn't close until 1946.
The United States' decision to imprison its own citizens has left a lasting stain on American history, even nearly 80 years later.
With the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 only a day away, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah is refusing to budge on the commemoration of a former internment camp in rural Colorado as a historical site.
Even in today's bitterly divided Senate, Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet secured support for the Amache National Historic Site Act from 99 out of 100 Senators, but the bill failed to pass by unanimous consent thanks to Lee's sole "No" vote.
Lee's team insists that his opposition isn't to the commemoration of injustice against Japanese Americans, but against increasing the amount of land overseen by the federal government:
“Senator Lee does not object to this specific historical site. He does object to any increase in the total amount of land owned by the federal government as the federal government fails to adequately care for the land already in its vast holdings."
Never mind that the would-be historical site measures less than one square mile.
Social media users lambasted Lee for his opposition.
Once again, @SenMikeLee proves that he cares for nothing but his own bizarre aggrandizement. https://t.co/4QEFhmi9A6
— Jessica Day George (@JessDayGeorge) February 12, 2022
Well, this is just embarrassing. @SenMikeLee what’s your problem? https://t.co/hxfpnpaaW7
— politikate (@politikate1) February 12, 2022
This is a new level of disgusting, even for @SenMikeLee who does support some pretty morally bankrupt positions. https://t.co/De3ilURoNd
— Kalyn Denny (@kalynskitchen) February 12, 2022
The vote renewed calls from Lee's critics to vote him out of office in 2022.
Wow. It is time we send @SenMikeLee packing. https://t.co/JbM0TESlQI
— Landon Conover #Vaccinated #EXTREME MASKER (@LandonConover) February 12, 2022
Time is up for @MikeLeeforUtah https://t.co/KkYTHfyEt4
— Gazpacho brigade, pups and kitties (@grammysan09) February 13, 2022
It’s time for a change in leadership to represent Utah values in the US Senate. I’m voting for @beckyforutah because she cares, she listens and she leads on behalf of all of us, not just a select few. https://t.co/GvdhCUbMIL
— Andrea Himoff (@andreahimoff) February 13, 2022
It's unclear what concessions Lee will demand in order for the bill to pass.