By Paul Steinhauser
Published February 15, 2019
CONCORD, N.H. -- Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she could possibly support a call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down parts of the existing U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” the senator from New York told Fox News on Friday, as she was campaigning in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.
“I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it,” Gillibrand added.
O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with NBC News that he’d “absolutely … take the wall down," referring to the barrier by El Paso, Texas.
O’Rourke, who came close to upsetting GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in last November’s Senate election in Texas, argued that the existing 600 miles of wall and fencing along the 2,000-mile border have “not in any demonstrable way made us safer.”
Republicans quickly criticized O’Rourke, charging that he embraces open borders.
Gillibrand, kicking off a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire, stressed that “Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades.”
“What President Trump wants to do is build a medieval-style wall,” she charged. “It is a hateful message.”
Gillibrand arrived in New Hampshire as the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert billions in Defense Department funding toward wall construction.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.
Gillibrand targeted the president’s move, saying, “I think the only national emergency is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border by separating families from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely. I think this is manufactured, I think this [is] inappropriate.”
She highlighted that congressional Democrats will sue the Trump administration and called the president’s move “not only reckless but it’s unwise.”