We don’t know what the hell happened to Sen. Lindsey Graham this past year, but we like it. We like it a lot. We hesitate to speculate on whether or not his buddy John McCain was holding him back all these years, but for whatever reason, Graham has been a man unleashed for the last several months. We still don’t agree with everything the South Carolina Republican has to say, but he’s been on the right page more often than not this year. And that momentum continued on Sunday when he urged President Trump not to give in to the demands of Democratic leaders vis-à-vis the border wall.
“If I were the president, I would dig in and not give in on additional wall funding,” Graham said on Sunday Morning Futures. “I’d want the whole $5 billion because the caravan is a game changer. $1.6 billion is available to the president, he wants $5 billion, and after the caravan, if you don’t see the need for additional border wall security, you’re just not paying much attention.”
Trump is scheduled to meet with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the White House to see if they can hammer out a deal that will keep the Department of Homeland Security funded through the end of the year. If they can’t come to an agreement, we may be headed for a partial government shutdown. Unfortunately, the Democrats have been signaling that they will not agree to any compromise that includes additional funding for the border wall.
“Listen to this, the incoming speaker of the House has said building a wall along our southern border is immoral. Immoral,” Graham said. “What are you looking at Nancy Pelosi? Look at the caravan. Look at the charge against the border. Look at the caravans that are to come. Look at the holes in our border security.
“So, here’s the problem. You’ve got the Democratic leader-to-be in the House calling border security, a wall component, immoral,” Graham continued. “If I’m President Trump Tuesday, I would tell Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that we’re going to build a wall where it makes sense.”
If the Democrats are willing to play ball, Trump would probably be willing to agree on some form of legislation that would grant amnesty to the 700,000+ recipients of Obama’s DACA protections. On the other hand, Pelosi herself said in a press conference last week that she was not willing to fund the “immoral” wall for such a deal. Additionally, when this deal was on the table last year, Trump balked, insisting that limits to chain migration and an end to the diversity visa lottery be included in the package. So it remains to be seen if anyone has moved away from their respective lines in the sand.
Trump isn’t afraid of a shutdown – that much is clear. And Democrats may be kidding themselves if they think the plight of the Dreamers is the political bargaining chip they think it is.
As for Graham, he’s usually not this hardcore when it comes to the border. But his evolution as a Republican may well reflect how the country as a whole has shifted. Democrats would be wise to acknowledge that shift as they sit down to negotiate with the president.