Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) minimized the influence of former President Trump’s opposition to a Senate border deal, arguing that detractors will back the effort after they read the bill, though any text of the legislation has yet to be released.
Trump has urged Senators not to support a bipartisan border security agreement, calling it a “catastrophe waiting to happen” and falling short of what is needed.
Lankford, a leading Republican in negotiations, said Sunday he still believes the effort will pass.
“They’re all functioning off of internet rumors of what’s in the bill, and many of them are false,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So people want to be able to just see it, read it, go through it, and to be able to see the dramatic change that this really makes and how we handle our immigration system and how we work to be able to secure our border completely.”
“That’s been a simple request of Americans, whether you’re Republican, Democrat or independent,” he continued. “People just want a secure border where we have legal immigration, but we’re not promoting illegal immigration, and that’s what we’ve seen in the last three years.”
He said lead negotiators don’t have a solid vote count of who is backing the effort just yet because the entire text has not been distributed to members, adding that “misinformation” about the bill will be corrected when the text is released.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), another lead negotiator, made similar comments Sunday, optimistic about the border deal’s future.
“I am hopeful that we will still have enough Republicans in the Senate who want to fix the problem at the border rather than just do Donald Trump’s bidding, but we will see over the next 24 to 48 hours whether that’s true,” he said.
Some Republicans have denounced Trump’s comments slamming the bill, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), calling Trump’s opposition “immoral.”