Congressional Democrats are ditching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s ardent opposition to any barrier or wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, as the partial government shutdown continues and President Donald Trump takes his case directly to the border itself.
““If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our border safe, all of that is fine,” Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said on CNN.
“Certainly you need barriers and we support barriers,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) added.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) also backed a barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico.
“Some fencing is useful, some barriers are useful,” Merkley said. “There’s a lot of surveillance technology. I’ve been to some cities on the border that have triple fencing and have more personnel and have the technology to see the people moving in the middle of the night.”
Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY)–the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee–said they would support fencing and barriers where necessary along the border.
Senate Minority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says he believes there will be a new barrier along the border in the future:
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) says Democrats support a barrier including a fence. “Democrats have repeatedly said that we will support border security, we will support all of its elements including fences,” Garamendi said.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), the Vice Chair of the Democrat conference, says that the border would benefit from additional barriers. “You know, I think there are parts of the border that would benefit from repairing fencing and other barricades that already exist there,” she told MSNBC.
These very prominent congressional Democrats’ message on the effectiveness of a wall or barrier or fence is very different from the coordinated message from Schumer and Pelosi just two nights ago when the two Democrat leaders in Congress said in their response to President Trump’s Oval Office address that the wall would be “ineffective.”
Pelosi called the wall “expensive and ineffective,” something that was an “obsession” of Trump’s–while Schumer bashed Trump’s “ineffective, unnecessary border wall” and said that America does not need a barrier on the border for security. “We can secure our border without an expensive, ineffective wall,” Schumer said in his response to Trump.
It remains to be seen where this fight goes from here, but the fact that many Democrats are messaging in a very different way from Pelosi and Schumer is particularly interesting as the next stages of this battle heat up.