Fox News Anchor Reminds GOP Senator That Trump Killed His Border Deal

Fox News
Fox News

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the GOP co-architect of the Senate’s failed immigration bill earlier this year, made what were perhaps his most critical comments yet on Donald Trump’s role in scuttling the legislation, alluding to Fox News Thursday that the former president was motivated by his political self-interest.

On Your World, Lankford was confronted by anchor Neil Cavuto about the players behind the bill’s demise.

“You are a real gentleman about this, and I know you’re not trying to zing your colleagues, but it’s your colleagues in your party, sir, who torpedoed this, who didn’t get the facts right on what you just outlined was in that measure,” Cavuto said. “They killed it, ironically. Not Democrats.”

During negotiations in February, Lankford lamented the right-wing pushback—led by Trump and his allies—and revealed that a popular conservative media figure even demanded that he not address the immigration topic until after the election, or else be “destroyed.”

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The Oklahoma senator agreed with Cavuto.

“Right. It was, and it was painful to be able to watch it get stirred up in all the presidential politics,” he said, adding that a number of his Republican colleagues “started looking for ways” to pull out after Trump sought to maintain immigration as a key election issue.

Some, he said, “backed up and looked for a reason to be able to shoot against it, and then walked away.”

“I get that. That’s a decision everybody makes,” Lankford explained. “My issue is if we are pursuing everything, we often end up with nothing. If we are pursuing someone coming later to fix it, later seems to never come. When we have a moment to fix things, we should fix as many things as we can then, then come back later and fix the rest.”

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In a CNN interview in early February, Lankford similarly acknowledged the political lay of the land. “Obviously, a chaotic border is helpful to him,” he said then of Trump.

On Thursday, Cavuto reiterated Trump’s driving role in killing the legislation that Lankford helped negotiate, and which included much of what Republicans had asked for.

“That’s on Donald Trump, senator.”

Lankford then contrasted his position as an officeholder with that of Trump, a presidential candidate.

“Again, he’s got an office that he is running for. He’s got a campaign that he is running. I’m already in office. I’ve got a responsibility to be able to carry on this,” he said.

“I think everybody cares about the future of the country. President Trump has a bigger picture of a lot of other issues he is looking for. If we have President Biden again, this never gets any better and I think if Trump sees this as a moment that if this gets fixed, then maybe a few people don’t vote, and then we have a whole host of other issues.”

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