Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell brushed off backlash from his GOP critics after support for his bipartisan border deal collapsed on Wednesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for McConnell to resign this week and argued that the border deal was far too weak to be acceptable. McConnell said his detractors are ignoring the reality of politics and compromise.
“I’ve had a small group of persistent critics the whole time I’ve been in this job. They had their shot,” McConnell told Politico on Wednesday, referring to an attempt to replace him as leader in 2022.
“The reason we’ve been talking about the border is because they wanted to, the persistent critics,” he continued. “You can’t pass a bill without dealing with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate.”
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When asked on Tuesday specifically about Cruz’s call for him to resign, McConnell responded with his typical deadpan humor.
“I think we can all agree that Senator Cruz is not a fan,” he told reporters.
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Cruz is not the only Republican senator speaking out, however. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, campaigned against the border bill and has called for “new leadership” in the party. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was similarly frustrated.
“I’ve been super unhappy since this started,” Johnson told Politico. “Leader McConnell completely blew this.”
Cruz said the bill, crafted by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., “codifies” Biden’s penchant to allow a porous border and “normalizes” 5,000 illegal migrants per day.
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“That works out to 1.8 million a year. That works out to about 6 million illegal immigrants over the three years of Biden.… So the idiotic Republican proposal was let’s be for two thirds of the border invasion that Biden has allowed,” he told Fox News on Wednesday morning.
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The GOP infighting comes as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced 1 million border encounters since Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2024. The CBP reached the 1 million mark faster than any other year.