Donald Trump’s imminent nomination as the Republican Party’s candidate for the President of the United States is paying immediate dividends for the American people.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly believes the politics of the border crisis has now “flipped,” signaling the Republican Party is poised to draw a much harder line on budget negotiations over issues like border security and funding for the Ukraine war.
A major factor in McConnell’s recalculation of the situation: Former President Donald Trump being all-but-assured of being the Republican nominee for President of the United States.
The Kentucky senator’s political recalculation was reportedly expressed behind closed doors to fellow Republicans and subsequently reported by Fox News.
The past few minutes, Jake Sherman with Punchbowl News had this about a McConnell meeting with Republican Senators,” Fox News’ Bret Baier began. “Senator McConnell told a closed meeting of Senate Republicans today that the politics of the border has ‘flipped’ and cast doubt on linking Ukraine and the border.”
“It quotes as him saying, ‘when we started this, the border united US and Ukraine divided us. The politics on this have changed. He told his GOP colleagues, he said he referred to Donald Trump as the nominee. ‘We don’t want to do anything to undermine him, and he wants to campaign and center it on immigration.’ So, quote, we’re in a ‘quandary.’”
“Now, his staff, he said something similar to that. We’ve asked some senators that were in the room. They didn’t characterize it, but you see what’s happening here as this disconnect is coming,” Baier added.
Whether McConnell’s reported political recalculation is solely for the purpose of optics — the Republican Party is under tremendous heat for ‘caving’ to the Democrats in budget negotiations — or a signal in Washington D.C. that GOP insiders believe Donald Trump might actually get re-elected, and thus, a coming to terms with policy priorities, is unclear.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune warned on Monday that the cost of border security elements in a national security package that negotiators are attempting to finish might exceed President Joe Biden’s original request of $14 billion for border security, according to CNN.
“That’s being discussed,” Thune told reporters when asked whether he expected the number to rise as negotiators seek policy answers to the complex issues at the border.
Key hurdles remain remaining in the Biden administration’s effort to get a border policy agreement that would entail the Senate adopting more funding for Ukraine and Israel.
It is unclear when an agreement may be reached or when the Senate will be able to vote. Any prospective compromise faces long odds in the Republican-controlled House, and the package’s cost might complicate reaching an agreement leading to its passage.
Last week, following a meeting with President Biden and 20 congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday, McConnell said that he was ‘done’ attempting to appease Ukraine doubters at Johnson’s conference.
As Biden’s budget version stands, there would be $110 billion on the table for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s war effort against Russia, as well as assistance for Israel and Taiwan, and roughly $14 billion for U.S. border security.
Ukraine would thus be receiving almost ten times the amount for its “border security” than America would invest in defending its own southern border, despite an out-of-control crisis.
“We’ve been talking about this for a very long time. It’s time to try to act,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has expressed his disgust trying to negotiate border solutions with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Negotiating with Chuck Schumer on securing the border is like putting Hannibal Lecter in charge of a ‘go vegan’ ad campaign,” he said.
As the Republican Party and Democratic Party hammer out a border solution that gives each side political cover, it appears that Donald Trump once again is proving to be a real “gamechanger.”