GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urged President Joe Biden to get involved in negotiations about border policy, saying he has “no confidence” in the leading Democrat negotiator to get a deal done.
On Tuesday, Senator Graham made the remarks after the Senate met with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President. Graham blasted Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, leading the talks for his side so far, and called him “unhelpful.”
Border talks began once Republicans in the Senate blocked President Biden’s $106 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel and funds directed toward border security. GOP Senators are holding firm — no further aid without strict border security policy. Senator Graham is also hawkish on sending assistance to allies but has said additional foreign aid can’t be until a deal to secure the border is first reached.
“The key is to the commander in chief involved in the negotiations. Sen. Murphy — I have no confidence he’s ever going to get a deal we can live with because he’s worried about selling it to the left,” said Graham, according to The Hill. “The commander in chief — if there’s a deal to be made — is going to have to get involved in negotiations. It’s his job above all others.”
Graham further cast Murphy as “very unhelpful” for his framing of the Republican’s position.
“We’re not holding the border hostage. We’re trying to protect the American people,” said Graham.
Graham’s remarks echo Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s
The senator’s remarks echo those of GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who also called on the president to get involved. Last week, Biden said he is willing to make a “significant” compromise on border policy. So, Senator McConnell said he told Biden to get in the discussion.
“Don’t just punt the ball up to Senate Democrats — they may never get there,” said McConnell Tuesday. “We all know he’s the only one that can sign a bill into law. Without (Biden), there is no deal.”
James Lankford of Oklahoma, lead Republican Senate negotiator, told reporters Monday that he doesn’t see a deal done by the end of the week when the House of Representatives adjourns for the Christmas break. Tuesday, McConnell echoed that Tuesday.
Graham is a solid supporter of Ukraine and its allies, saying last week, “You may not agree that Ukraine is important, but I do.”
But, he reiterated Tuesday what he said to Newsmax last week, “we’ve got to fix our own backyard here.”
“I told President Zelenskyy my No. 1 obligation is to secure my country as well as help yours, and I feel like my country’s border policies are an immediate threat to the safety of the American people,” said Graham Tuesday.