Politics

Dems Got ‘Mugged by Reality’ on Border, Migrant Busing Worked at Getting My Attention

On Friday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) stated that Democrats were “mugged by reality” on immigration and “Maybe Democrats were a little slow to get up to speed on this. Some of us, from this part of the region, we weren’t hit as hard early on. I think we all know where we’ve got to be now.” And acknowledged that migrant busing worked because it “got the Governor of Connecticut’s attention.”

While Lamont was on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked, “I’m actually curious, when you see governors, the governor of Texas, Florida, whatever busing some of these migrants up to the northeast, do you say, this is terrible, they’re being used as chess pieces…or do you say that this is working? Meaning — because I would argue, by the way — and by the way, you could have both ideas in your head at the same time.”

Lamont responded, “Hey, look, A. It’s a political ploy. B. It got the Governor of Connecticut’s attention. So, you can put them both on the map. But I can tell you, governors on both sides of the aisle think this is of preeminent importance. They’ve got to get this bipartisan compromise done. Don’t say we’re going to put it off for a year due to politics. It’s hitting states even like Connecticut.”

Later, on Bloomberg’s “Surveillance,” Lamont stated that there is “some overflow” of migrants from New York, but the state is ready to deal with migrants, but “we need more support from the federal government. I think that’s especially true here in New York City. But also, we’ve got to secure the border. We’ve got to be a lot stricter on the border. You’ve got to do both.”

Co-host Lisa Abramowicz then asked, “We’ve been hearing from this administration about what they can do going it alone. President Biden has talked about possibly closing the border. Are you hoping he does that?”

Lamont responded, “I am. Look, I call the Republicans’ bluff. They’re saying, President Biden, you’re not willing to close the border. Give me the tools to do it, and I will do it. I can’t figure out why they’re pulling back now and saying, it’s not that much of an emergency, we’ll wait until after the next election. I think that’s the wrong move. Let’s make the deal.”

Later, co-host Jonathan Ferro asked, “It’s amazing to hear Democrats start to sound like Republicans on this issue. You and I talked about this before. Do you get the sense that Democrats have been robbed by reality on this issue, that we have this big, big issue down at the southern border for a long, long time, and yet, here we are, now, we need to confront it in blue states, New York, Connecticut, and elsewhere, and all of a sudden this is a problem we need to fix? Why wasn’t it a problem we need to fix before? And why have we been robbed by reality now?”

Lamont responded, “Yeah, mugged by reality. … I’ll pull the lens back for just one second. We have the most successful economy on earth. People know it. That’s why more people want to come to this country than ever before. But you’re absolutely right, it only works if we secure our borders. Maybe Democrats were a little slow to get up to speed on this. Some of us, from this part of the region, we weren’t hit as hard early on. I think we all know where we’ve got to be now. That’s why it’s so important the Republicans don’t pull back at this last moment. The ball’s on the five-yard line…let’s get it into the end zone…and see if we can get this done, then hold the President accountable.”

Ferro then asked, “How confused do you think the President is on this issue, and how much distance is there between him and you?”

Lamont responded, “I don’t think there’s any distance right now. He’s come out strong. He said, give me the tools, I will shut down the border to illegal immigration. He was very clear on that. Maybe you wish he’d said that sooner. He’s saying it now. The ball’s in Congress’ court if it can give him the tools to get the job done.”

Co-host Annmarie Hordern then asked, “But, Governor, wasn’t he clear on day one? On day one, he paused nearly all deportations. People say this was a signal to many countries that it is going to be easier to get into the United States now than it was under former President Trump? Was that a mistake?”

Lamont responded, “People have been trying to come through our border for years. Under Trump — remember, during the midterms, he’d been there for two years, he kept talking about caravans of terrorists coming up through our border. So, it wasn’t like everything was peaches and cream six years ago and then it changed. I think we’re serious now. I think there should be strong bipartisan support. Our Sen., Chris Murphy (D), is helping to lead those negotiations. Let’s get it done, hopefully as soon as this weekend.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett



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