Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, has criticized his congressional colleagues over opposition to a bipartisan southern border deal following election-year pressure from Donald Trump. The GOP has been focusing on border security issues as the 2024 election cycle approaches, criticizing Democrats and President Joe Biden for failing to address a supposed “invasion” of migrants at the southern border with Mexico. A new deal to address some of these issues has been percolating in the Senate with bipartisan support, but the deal now seems imperiled in the House after pressure from Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
Trump has urged Republicans not to accept anything less than a “perfect” border deal before the general election in November, which many observers and pundits have interpreted as an attempt to deprive the Biden administration of a win on border issues so that Trump and other Republicans can continue to campaign on them. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said of the alleged terms of the deal that they would be “dead on arrival in the House.”
Lankford, who is the leading GOP lawmaker on the bipartisan border deal, decried his congressional colleagues over their refusal to support it in the wake of pressure from the former president. He cited the Republicans’ refusal to give funding for Ukraine, Israel, and the southern border as a result of policy changes and later expressed a willingness to abandon the border deal in order to embolden Trump’s ability to campaign on the issue of security.