Former President Trump praised the demise of the bipartisan border deal Friday, taking credit helping to tank the legislation that took months to negotiate.
Trump urged Republicans to vote against the bill before it was unveiled last Sunday, arguing its passage would be a political victory for President Biden in the election-year matchup that is likely to feature both men as their respective party nominees.
The former president took pleasure in contributing to the bill’s failure Friday in remarks to members of the National Rifle Association in Harrisburg, Pa.
“You give illegals taxpayer-funded lawyers, so they have millions of dollars in this agreement, in this deal, which we by the way killed,” Trump said during his speech, highlighted by Mediaite, potentially referring to a measure in bill that would have provided immigration lawyers to unaccompanied children under 13.
“I think we killed it. I think it’s dead! But you can never say it because bad bills always come back to life because these guys make a lot of money with bad bills,” he added. “But they give millions, tens of millions of dollars that’s down there to lawyers to represent the illegal immigrants that come into our country. It’s not even believable.”
While some Senate Republicans took issue with Trump facilitating the process of tanking the legislation, GOP leaders in the House stated that the bill — negotiated by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) — was already “dead on arrival.”
The bill’s failure comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued earlier this week that the deal would crack down on the huge flow of migrants across the border and possibly would be the last chance for years to reform immigration law.
But, he faced a big political headwind from Trump, who called on GOP lawmakers to reject any deal that didn’t give them “everything” they wanted.
Republicans backed away from the package Tuesday, deriding the process used to write the legislation and heaping criticism on provisions they claimed would allow 5,000 migrants into the country each day — an issue Republican negotiators ultimately could not refute.
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