Tensions are flaring between the White House and a moderate Republican senator who claimed a young Trump aide was standing in the way of a bipartisan deal on immigration reform.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime advocate of comprehensive immigration reform that leans in the direction of Democrats, blasted hardline Trump-whisperer Stephen Miller Sunday as a meddlesome ‘outlier.’
The White House fired back, using the same word to describe Graham in a Washington version of ‘I know you are, but what am I?”
(SEE VIDEO BELOW)
Graham’s complaint is that Miller, 32, has long been undercutting Trump’s ability to cut a deal that might have made Friday’s government shutdown unnecessary, reports The Hill.
‘As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years,’ Graham told reporters at the Capitol on Sunday.
‘I’ve talked with the president. His heart is right on this issue. 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.’
Miller came to the White House from the Senate, where he staffed then-Republican Senator Jeff Sessions on immigration issues.
His claim to fame was helping Sessions kill a bipartisan effort in 2013 to put millions of illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship as part of a broad reform package.
The Senate proposal was promoted by four Democrats and four Republicans – the famous ‘Gang of Eight.’ Graham was one of the group’s members.
Now that friction over the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has made immigration the latest existential linchpin to hit Congress, old resentments are surfacing.
‘His view of immigration has never been in the mainstream of the Senate,’ Graham said of Miller as negotiations to end a government shutdown fell apart Sunday.
‘And we’re never going to get there as long as we embrace concepts that cannot possibly get 60 votes. So Mr. Miller has evolved on a pathway to citizenship, but for every green card you give a DACA recipient, he wants to take one out of the system.’
The White House said Sunday that it’s Graham, not Miller, who is operating outside America’s mainstream.
‘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 are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years,’ said White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday on Fox News that ‘it’s ridiculous when a United States senator is calling out an adviser to the president.’
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 22nd, 2018