Republican Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), under attack from members of his own party — including former President Donald Trump, the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee — for defending the Senate’s “bipartisan” border “security” package, said on Sunday that his GOP colleagues have it all wrong.
The problem, as Lankford sees it: “internet rumors” and “election-year politics.”
Moreover, Lankford said that the reportedly near-complete bill isn’t about allowing 5,000 illegal aliens to enter the country daily.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the embattled senator spent a whole lot of time saying what the bill isn’t — and far less time explaining what it is. For example, Lankford told host Shannon Bream:
The challenge that Sen. Cruz has and a bunch of other folks is they’re still waiting to be able to read the bill on this. And this has been our great challenge of being able to fight through the final words, to be able to get the bill text out so people can hear it.
Right now there’s [sic] internet rumors is all that people are running on. It would be absolutely absurd for me to agree to 5,000 people a day.
How odd. I mean, how would an “internet rumor” — a very specific rumor — get picked up by Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans in staunch opposition to the Senate bill?
I mean, I can see social media types glomming onto such rumors, but when Republican senators, who presumably have at least a bit of inside information about the bill — as opposed to social media keyboard jockeys — slam the alleged inclusion of 5,000 illegal entries daily, Lankford’s denial is confusing at best.
Moreover, he went even further, telling Bream:
This bill focuses on getting us to zero illegal crossings a day. There’s no amnesty.
I get the “There’s no amnesty” part —yet, that is, but Lankford’s flat-out denial of the 5K illegals? Sketchy.
The more the Oklahoma senator talked, the more confusing his rhetoric became.
[The bill] increases [the] number of Border Patrol agents and it increases asylum officers. It increases detention beds so we can quickly detain and then deport individuals. It ends catch-and-release. It focuses on additional deportation flights out.
It changes our asylum process so that people can get a fast asylum screening at a higher standard and then get returned back to their home country. This is not about letting 5,000 people in a day. This is the most misunderstood section of this proposal. And let me tell you briefly what it is.
You know, last four months, we’ve had seven days — in four months, we’ve had seven days that we had less than 5,000 people. This is set up if you have a rush of people coming at the border, the border closes down, no one gets in.
This is not — this is not someone standing at the border with a little clicker and saying, I’m going to let one more in, we’re at 4,999, and then it has to stop. It is a shutdown of the border and everyone actually gets turned around.
That’s the focus that we have right now, is how do we actually intervene in this administration and turn people around and not let people in?”
Just one question:
How in the hell can there be virtually opposite descriptions of the embattled Senate bill, with presumably informed Republican senators skewering it, and Speaker Mike Johnson saying it has zero chance of passing in the House, as opposed to James Lankford, one of the bill’s architects, telling a completely different story?
Who’s playing politics, senator?
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