Speaking at a “commit to caucus” event in Nevada, Donald Trump expressed strong opposition to the Senate border deal, vowing to fight against it. He commended House Speaker Mike Johnson for declaring the bill dead on arrival in the lower chamber.
During the event, Trump criticized President Joe Biden’s management of the southern border, a topic he has consistently emphasized to energize his base. He described the bipartisan, yet undisclosed, Senate agreement as a “bad bill” and asserted that he could not support it.
As the leader of the party, Trump unequivocally stated, “There is zero chance I will support this horrible, open borders betrayal of America. It’s not going to happen, and I’ll fight it all the way.”
Addressing claims by some senators blaming him, Trump responded, “I said that’s OK, please blame it on me. Please, because they were getting ready to pass a very bad bill. And I’ll tell you what, a bad bill, I’d rather have no bill than a bad bill.”
While the details of the agreement are yet to be disclosed, a few snippets leaked this week, causing a stir on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan negotiators sought support from Senate Republicans for policies aimed at modifying the nation’s immigration laws. Trump’s involvement in the debate has further complicated the negotiations, as he aims to undermine the deal.
The issue of the southern border has been an ongoing challenge for Biden, who has faced record levels of migrant crossings since taking office. Border Patrol agents reported a record 302,034 migrant encounters last month, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Of those encounters, 249,785 were recorded between ports of entry.
The White House is eager to secure a deal with the Senate, viewing it as an opportunity to showcase the president’s ability to achieve bipartisan agreements and address the border problem. Subsequently, the president’s team plans to criticize House Republicans, some of whom suggest holding onto the issue until November.
In response to Johnson’s statement declaring the Senate bill “dead on arrival” in the House, Trump praised the House Speaker during the rally, highlighting the challenges of leading with a narrow majority.
Biden, entering the fray on Friday, escalated the White House’s rhetoric and sent a stern message to Republicans threatening to derail any agreement. The president urged action and asserted his willingness to shut down the border after signing the bill into law.
The shutdown authority mentioned by Biden would empower his administration to turn away migrants between ports of entry once the agreed-upon metric is reached. Certain migrants showing evidence of fleeing persecution or torture would be exempt, and asylum-seekers would still be allowed to present claims at authorized ports of entry. The specific terms of the deal remain subject to negotiation.