Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) the lead Republican negotiator in border security talks with Democrats and the White House, slammed his Republican colleagues on Sunday for trying to sink a bipartisan border deal simply because it is a presidential election year.
Democratic negotiator Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) says the terms of the deal are not finalized yet, but it will allow the president to “shut down the border in between the ports of entry when crossings reach catastrophically high levels.”
Lankford defended the deal in a Fox News interview on Sunday, noting that Republicans were the ones to demand border policy changes in exchange for funding to Ukraine in the first place and now they’re the ones saying they will not accept this deal because it would help Joe Biden.
“It’s definitely not going to let a bunch of people in. It’s focused on actually turning people around on it,” Lankford said in a clip posted by Mediaite. “It is interesting, Republicans four months ago would not give funding for Ukraine, for Israel and for our southern border because we demanded changes in policy. So we actually locked arms together and said, ‘We’re not going to give you money for this. We want a change in law.’ And now it’s interesting, a few months later, when we’re finally going to the end, they’re like, ‘Oh, just kidding. I actually don’t want a change in law because it’s a presidential election year.’”
Other Republican senators have similarly criticized members of their own party, including Donald Trump, for their willingness to kill the historic border bill for political gain.
“I didn’t come here to have the president as a boss or a candidate as a boss. I came here to pass good, solid policy,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told NBC News. “It is immoral for me to think you looked the other way because you think this is the linchpin for President Trump to win.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has called the move “appalling.”
“We have a crisis at the border,” he said. “The American people are suffering as a result of what’s happening at the border. And someone running for president ought to try to get the problem solved as opposed to saying ‘hey, save that problem, don’t solve it. Let me take credit for solving it later.’”