Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is retreating from his prior support for a border bill that would help President Joe Biden import more migrants and also hide the huge damage caused by his easy-migration policies.
“I think the border portion is dead,” said one Republican senator, who cited McConnell’s remarks to the GOP conference at the Wednesday meeting. The lawmaker said that McConnell told GOP senators “this has gotten to be a lot more politically difficult than he thought it would be.”
“MCCONNELL told a closed meeting of Senate Republicans Wed[nesday afternoon] that the politics of the border has flipped for R[epublicans]s and cast doubt on linking Ukraine and border,” Punchbowl News reported early Wednesday evening. The report added:
McConnell referred to [Donald] Trump as “the nominee” and noted the former president wants to run his 2024 campaign centered on immigration. And the GOP leader said, “We don’t want to do anything to undermine him.”
The retreat came after sharp public criticism by multiple GOP Senators.
“McConnell is one of the best vote counters in Senate history, and he clearly saw which way the debate was heading,” Punchbowl reported Thursday morning.
According to a GOP source familiar with the matter, McConnell told Republicans at a private Wednesday meeting that they are in a “quandary,” given that bipartisan talks over immigration have created intraparty feuding and may have closed off a path to getting a massive package approved this Congress.
Last week, Trump slammed the draft deal, saying on TruthSocial:
I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, Country! Also, I have no doubt that our wonderful Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, will only make a deal that is PERFECT ON THE BORDER. Remember, without Strong Borders and Honest Elections, we don’t have a Country!!!
So far, Biden’s border deputies have carefully allowed more than six million economic migrants across the southern border and into the United States. The huge inflow adds up is roughly one migrant for every two American births during the last three years. The inflow has dramatically shifted public attitudes against mass migration into Americans’ workplaces and communities, which is now described as an “invasion” by majorities in two polls.
Biden’s border policies are the top issue in U.S. politics, according to a January 17-18 poll for Harvard University. “Immigration is now seen as the top issue facing the nation, up +7 [points] and ahead of inflation,” according to a summary of the poll of 2,346 registered voters. The poll was conducted by The Harris Poll and HarrisX.
The poll also reported that 57 percent of the voters said, ”I miss Donald Trump’s policies on the economy, immigration, and crime.”
Because of course he is. https://t.co/Bur2SCEHk6
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 25, 2024
On Friday, Biden told a group of Democratic politicians that he supported the draft deal, partly because it would muffle GOP criticism of his immigration policy during the election.
“Next week, we’re gonna be able to work out something, at least in the Senate, and I’m hopeful it is going to be the bipartisan package the Senate is going to pass,” he told the attendees, adding, “Now the question is for the [House] Speaker and House Republicans: Are they ready to act as well? They have to choose whether they want to solve a problem or keep weaponizing issues to score political points against the president.”
McConnell’s shift came after a group of seven GOP Senators used a Wednesday press conference to slam his focus on protecting Ukraine’s borders, the counterproductive border deal, and his exclusion of mainstream GOP Senators from the negotiations.
The reversal is a big win for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who also denounced the draft bill.