Tuesday’s meeting between President Trump and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York showed that while the president is determined to protect the security of our border and the safety of the American people, Democrats have no interest in working with him.
“We have to have border security,” the president said repeatedly at the Oval Office meeting while journalists were present. That commonsense statement should be obvious to everyone – Democrats as well as Republicans.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” the president told Schumer. “Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into this country. So I will take the mantel, I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”
Once again, the president is showing us that he is putting America and the American people first. We should all be grateful for this.
According to the Department of Homeland Security: “On average last year, DHS prevented 10 individuals tied to terror – known or suspected terrorists – each day from traveling or attempting to travel to the United States.”
Added to this number are the 17,000 criminals and 3,000 special interest aliens that U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended in 2017.
As President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson wrote in a memo in 2016, special interest aliens (SIAs) are “those who are potential national security threats to our homeland. Thus, the need for continued vigilance in this particular area. ... Timely and actionable intelligence is essential to effectively drive efforts to counter the threats posed by the smuggling of SIAs.”
If Schumer and Pelosi don’t believe President Trump or his administration, it might be useful for them to meet with Jeh Johnson to learn about threats posed by criminals who illegally cross our southern border.
Here’s the bottom line: Terrorists and criminals don’t target their victims by political party. Every elected and appointed government official dealing with homeland security has an obligation to protect our border to keep dangerous people out to the greatest extent possible.
But at the meeting with President Trump, Pelosi showed she was more interested in scoring political points than in keeping the American people safe. Though she claimed to have come to the White House in “good faith,” her talking points proved otherwise.
Every elected and appointed government official dealing with homeland security has an obligation to protect our border to keep dangerous people out to the greatest extent possible.
“The House Republicans could bring up this bill, if they had the votes, immediately, and set the tone for what you want,” Pelosi replied as the president pressed for $5 billion in clearly necessary border wall funding.
But Pelosi knows full well that a Senate filibuster would stop any House border wall funding measure from becoming law. In response, the president accurately noted: “If we thought we were going to get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately.”
The Senate currently has 51 Republican and 49 Democratic members. That means that any House-passed bill would need at least nine Democratic votes in the Senate to get to the 60-vote threshold to stop a filibuster. Pelosi, of course, is well aware of how the Congress works, which is what makes her remarks so intentionally deceptive.
One would likewise hope that Pelosi is not ignorant enough to truly believe her own border security proposal of “mowing the grass so people can’t be smuggled through grass.” That’s straight from the mouth of Pelosi.
Much like Pelosi, Schumer also demonstrated a fundamental lack of seriousness in securing our porous southern border. “The one thing I think we can agree on,” he said, “is we shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute.”
This from the same man who did exactly what he condemned less than 12 months ago, when he orchestrated the disastrous “Schumer shutdown,” which shut down the government over the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients. DACA was created by President Obama in an executive order to allow immigrant children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the U.S. on a temporary basis.
The Schumer shutdown was widely considered a disaster as Democrats put funding for low-income American children in limbo over the fate of illegal immigrants.
“Democrats get rolled in shutdown standoff,” read a representative Politico headline from last January. Nevertheless, here comes Schumer to the Oval Office repeatedly condemning government shutdowns – while conveniently neglecting the one he caused.
A big problem facing Pelosi and Schumer is that their rejection of border security measures is highly unpopular.
According to a recent Harvard-Harris Poll, 63 percent of voters support President Trump’s immigration compromise that gives a path to legalization for DACA recipients in exchange for border wall funding, an end to the diversity visa lottery, and a move toward merit-based immigration.
That’s fair compromise. Unfortunately, this deal has been repeatedly rejected by Democrats. Tuesday’s meeting proved what we already knew: Democrats are on the wrong side of the American people, but President Trump will not stop fighting to keep us safe and secure.