Photo: Wikimedia Commons
According to the minority leader, the former president put the GOP “in a quandary.” This soured the deal’s prospects and the fate of Ukraine aid that the GOP has tied to it.
The New York Times reports,
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, told Republicans privately on Wednesday that the politics of the issue had been complicated by Mr. Trump’s rise and his hostility to the agreement, putting the party “in a quandary,” according to lawmakers who participated in the meeting and described his comments on the condition of anonymity.
The remarks, reported earlier by Punchbowl News, were striking coming from a Republican who has toiled to distance himself and his party from the former president. Mr. McConnell has vociferously backed the proposed border compromise and has been a chief proponent of a stalled effort to send tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, which Republicans have said must be tied to the deal.
Mr. McConnell’s abrupt change in tone reflected the increasingly difficult challenge facing Senate negotiators as they race to finalize immigration legislation that the former president is already actively campaigning against.
Despite meeting that bar in the Senate, Speaker Mike Johnson has cast doubt on whether it will be brought to the House floor, where hard-right lawmakers are opposed vehemently.
Mr. McConnell addressed Senate Republicans in a closed-door meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the war in Ukraine, in a session convened upon the request of Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, who is among those raising doubts about the border deal.
“I’m literally not getting any kind of acceptable response, other than, ‘Oh, this is great, you know, we’re getting things we never thought we could get,’” Mr. Johnson said of the border talks this week, questioning whether the proposed restrictions would significantly limit the number of migrants trying to cross the border unlawfully.
Other Republicans have said their party would be unwise to give President Biden a compromise that could help him politically without adequately addressing the issue.
A ‘deal’ will allow Biden to pretend he’s doing something about the border but it won’t solve the problem,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote on social media on Wednesday.
Despite complaints from their caucus that they have NOTHING to campaign on, Senator Mitch McConnell confirmed that Republicans will not pass a bill on border security because Trump told them not to.
Deliberately NOT fixing a problem.
— Really American (@ReallyAmerican1) January 25, 2024
In spite of the fact that the emerging agreement did not satisfy every single G.O.P. demand, there were still some Republicans who argued that it was worth supporting.
“It goes far enough for me, and I think if anyone’s intellectually honest with themselves, they know that these would be extraordinary tools for President Trump,” Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, said when exiting the meeting. “We will rue the day if we miss this opportunity.”
Some might say the Uniparty strikes again.
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