by Jay Lorenz
On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham, who voted against the continuing resolution on Friday, criticized Stephen Miller for holding up immigration negotiations, claiming that the senior White House adviser has been “an outlier for years.” From the Hill:
” ‘Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we’re going nowhere,’ Graham told reporters as he headed into a closed-door negotiation with a bipartisan group of senators.
He added that ‘the White House staff, I think, is making it very difficult.’
Miller, a White House aide, is well known for his conservative views on immigration. He was formerly a staffer for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who frequently opposed bipartisan immigration deals.
Miller authored the White House’s wide-ranging immigration plan, which includes wall funding and cracking down on cities that don’t comply with federal immigration law.
Democrats have repeatedly bristled at Miller’s involvement, arguing he isn’t a constructive force in the immigration talks.”
In reality, Miller and Trump are the only reason there are real immigration negotiations going on. We know Graham is more than happy to hand the Democrats everything they want—all 11 million and more—but Miller and others are holding the line on actual immigration reform. Even top Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have joined the President in pinning the shutdown on the Democrats as they hold out for DACA. Both voted for the continuing resolution on Friday. Afterward, Ryan sent several tweets attacking Schumer and the Democrats for shutting down the government, including this one:
He was also very critical of the Democrats in an interview on Face the Nation Sunday. We at Fash the Nation are certainly no fans of Ryan’s, but at least he is doing his job in this situation.
Meanwhile, Graham, John McCain, and Jeff Flake, all of whom voted against the bill, are sabotaging the Republican Party and preventing a sensible immigration policy. Graham is abandoning his own party when it is in a strong position, while criticizing one of the President’s most trusted advisers. This is an absurdly bad move politically and yet more proof that Graham would feel more at home in the Democratic Party.
Late Sunday, the Trump administration fired back in a statement, saying, “As long as Sen. Graham chooses to support legislation that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully instead of our own American citizens, we’re going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years.” They’re right. Graham has become an outlier in his party, as it shifts further to the right on immigration. He can complain about Stephen Miller holding up negotiations all he wants, but it is Graham, not Miller, who voted against funding the government. It is Graham who sided with the Democrats in their stand for illegal aliens.
Just as the Republicans seem to be at their strongest since Trump’s election, Graham tries to break them down. When even Paul Ryan knows it’s time to stop struggling and let the Trump administration drag him across the finish line, the correct choice should be clear to everyone. But here Graham is, firing shots at his own party, and trying to turn this easy victory into a loss.