January 26, 2024
On Wednesday, January 24, Donald Trump privately pressured Senate Republicans to “kill” a bipartisan deal to secure the U.S. border because he doesn’t want President Joe Biden to chalk up a win ahead of the 2024 presidential election, reports HuffPost.
Trump directly reached out to several GOP senators on Wednesday to tell them to reject any deal. The GOP presidential frontrunner also personally reached out to some Senate Republicans over the weekend, an anonymous source told HuffPost. “He doesn’t want Biden to have a victory,” said the source. “He told them he will fix the border when he is president…. He said he only wants the perfect deal.”
Trump’s meddling generated an “emotional” discussion in a closed-door meeting among Senate Republicans, as senators vented their frustrations for hours about the largely secret negotiations over emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel, and immigration. The conference is splintering into two camps—those who believe Republicans should take the deal, and those who are opposed at any cost.
“The rational Republicans want the deal because they want Ukraine and Israel and an actual border solution,” said the source. “But the others are afraid of Trump, or they’re the chaos caucus who never wants to pass anything.”
“They’re having a little crisis in their conference right now,” the source added.
A bipartisan group of senators has been working for months to craft a border deal, and Trump has made it no secret that he opposes it. On Wednesday, he wrote on Truth Social, his conservative social media site, “I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions and Millions of people.”
What’s different now, though, is that Trump is now directly telling GOP senators to oppose any deal. His meddling has left their conference in even more disarray than it was already in, and a potential border deal in limbo.
Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) demurred when asked if he thinks it’s constructive for Trump to tell Republicans not to make any border deals: “I could probably go through any number of things that Biden is saying that are not constructive when he’s on the campaign trail, but that’s the nature of campaigns,”
Tillis said. “So I’m not going to criticize President Trump or his positions.”
But, bucking Trump, he said he supported passing the bipartisan border deal, which Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) has been working on with Democrats.
“Based on what I’ve seen and based on the work that James Lankford has put in, it goes far enough for me,” said Tillis. “If anyone’s intellectually honest with themselves, they all know these would be extraordinary tools for President Trump.”
During Wednesday’s meeting, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) referenced comments Trump made as president in 2018 about the difficulty of getting Democrats to agree to changes to immigration laws. McConnell, who is no fan of Trump, was making the case that Republicans should agree to a border deal now, since the likelihood of Democrats potentially cutting a deal with Trump in the White House again would be highly unlikely.
Research contact: @HuffPost