McConnell Reportedly Backs Down After GOP Border Deal Backlash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has faced significant criticism from his own side of the aisle after proposing legislation that would have linked funding for border security to the provision of additional U.S. cash for Ukraine.

This week, reports surfaced that he told a group of Senate Republicans that “the politics of the border has flipped” for members of the party, meaning the border and Ukraine are unlikely to be mutually dependent issues in a forthcoming bill.

McConnell’s apparent change of heart came on the heels of a press conference held this week by a group of Republican lawmakers upset by the terms of the proposed deal and the negotiation process that led to it.

“McConnell’s goal is not to protect America’s borders but to protect Ukraine’s borders,” asserted Sen. Eric Schmit (R-MO). “That’s really what this is about; people know it.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused McConnell and others involved in the negotiations of “waging war on House Republican leadership” while Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said the situation revealed Senate leaders’ disregard for rank-and-file senators.

“It’s not designed to secure the border and it won’t secure the border,” Cruz added. “And that’s why leadership wants it kept in secret.”

For his part, Sen Rick Scott (R-FL) said that McConnell rejected a plan proposed behind closed doors that would have allowed for additional Ukraine spending only if border security measures began to show results.

“We said we want something that [President Joe] Biden has to do because we know he’s lawless,” the Florida Republican said. “The only thing we could come up with was to release monthly Ukraine aid if the number of people coming across the border goes down. Leader McConnell said no way.”

The bottom line, according to the group of senators upset by the deal, is that the deal as proposed would not have a measurable impact on the influx of undocumented immigrants across the U.S. southern border.

“This bill normalizes 5,000 people a day coming in — 5,000 people a day is over 1.8 million a year,” Cruz concluded. “That’s called an invasion.”

Johnson also reserved criticism for Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who has been handling much of the negotiation on behalf of Senate GOP leadership.

“When Sen. Lankford was asked, ‘What is the goal of this?’ the answer wasn’t to secure the border,” Johnson said. “It was just, ‘Give the next president the tools he would need … to secure the border.’ Well, that wasn’t our expectation. I’m sure that’s not the public’s expectation.”