Republicans Target Fellow Party Member Over Immigration Policies They Back

Republicans Target Fellow Party Member Over Immigration Policies They Back
Republicans Target Fellow Party Member Over Immigration Policies They Back (Credits: Vanity Fair)

Republican lawmaker James Lankford finds himself under intense scrutiny as knives are drawn by Donald Trump and his allies over his involvement in shaping the border security and foreign aid bill, which has been the subject of months of bipartisan deliberation.

Despite efforts to reach a compromise, it seems that negotiations have been in vain, with Lankford himself conceding on Monday that he anticipates the cloture vote scheduled for Wednesday to fail.

The proposed bill addresses longstanding Republican immigration priorities and allocates significant funding for border security and aid to Ukraine.

However, Trump, wielding considerable influence within the GOP, has privately urged Republicans to oppose it, fearing that its passage could bolster Joe Biden’s chances of reelection. Publicly, Trump has framed his opposition in terms of policy concerns while simultaneously working to tarnish Lankford’s reputation.

Republicans Target Fellow Party Member Over Immigration Policies They Back
Republicans Target Fellow Party Member Over Immigration Policies They Back (Credits: Vanity Fair)

While Lankford’s congressional seat appears secure for the time being—he was first elected in 2014 and won reelection in 2022—Trump has hinted at the possibility of supporting a primary challenge against Lankford in 2028.

Trump criticized the bill during a recent interview, suggesting it could harm Lankford’s political future in Oklahoma, particularly among staunch supporters of the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) movement.

In the same interview, Trump disavowed his previous endorsement of Lankford, despite having publicly endorsed him two years earlier, praising his stances on border security and America First policies.

Some voices within Trump’s sphere have called for drastic measures against Lankford, including congressional censure, viewing him as a political liability for his involvement in the border bill.

Lankford, however, has defended the bill and questioned the motivations of those opposing it, suggesting that some are driven by political expediency rather than genuine concerns.

Despite Lankford’s defense, the bill’s fate appears uncertain, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly advising Republicans to vote against it in the cloture vote.

Several Republican senators have voiced their opposition to the draft agreement, while others have requested more time to review its contents. In the House, key Republicans have signaled that the bill would not advance if brought to a vote.

The proposed $118 billion package includes funding for Ukraine, border security, and assistance to other countries like Taiwan and Israel. It also includes provisions related to asylum standards and emergency powers for the president.

However, opposition from Trump and his allies, particularly regarding certain provisions such as migrant work permits, threatens the bill’s viability.

Despite Republican demands to address migration issues, the bill faces significant challenges and criticism, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer labeling the GOP stance on the border as hypocritical and untenable.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.