Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) doesn’t think government shutdown talks have any chance of progressing as long as White House senior policy adviser and hardline immigration stalwart Stephen Miller is involved.
Seen by many as a potential conduit between the two bitterly divided sides, Politico reports Graham made his feelings known early Sunday as he stepped up his criticism of the overall way President Donald Trump’s staff has handled negotiations in the stalemate that has left the federal government shuttered.
“As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere,” Graham said. “He’s been an outlier for years.”
In the days leading up to the shutdown and in its aftermath, Graham has been relentless in his criticism of the administration over what he sees as its less than sparkling service of Trump.
“I’ve talked with the president — his heart is right on this issue,” he said. “He’s got a good understanding of what will sell, and every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members.”
In one instance, Graham said a proposal was distributed to both sides outlining a White House request for the $18 billion the administration would use to fund the centerpiece of the president’s border security plan. As talks moved forward, Trump even boasted of being able to do the job for less than the $18 billion.
“So, what does the White House do a couple days later,” Graham said. “They pitch a proposal for $33 billion. That’s just not credible.”
Bipartisan groups spent much of Sunday meeting to talk and exchange ideas, ultimately hoping to hammer out a deal both sides can live with that will allow the government to resume operations sooner rather than later.
Conspicuously absent since things went dark — other than on Twitter — has been Trump, who has not been seen or directly heard from over the last 48 hours.
Early Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to weigh in, “Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s.”