The White House went after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Sunday after he criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the border and ongoing negotiations over the Senate border security deal.
In a “Meet the Press” interview Sunday, Johnson admitted that he was not privy to Senate negotiations over the bill and appeared to contradict himself, saying that President Biden must both immediately use executive authority to secure the border and require new legislation in order to do so.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said Johnson “continued to tie himself in knots” with the statements.
“On Meet the Press, Speaker Johnson repeatedly and wildly swung between the inherently contradictory claims that President Biden already has the executive authorities necessary to secure the border, but that at the same time legislation is urgently required,” Bates said in a statement.
He added that Johnson’s opposition to the Senate border negotiations is part of efforts to “delay border security, delay crucial investments in the fight against fentanyl, and delay Border Patrol hiring,” due to former President Trump’s opposition to the measure.
Last month, Johnson said the bill would be “dead on arrival” if passed in the Senate.
Johnson has previously denied that his opposition is connected to Trump, and some Senate Republicans have eschewed the former president’s influence on the negotiations.
On Sunday, the Speaker made clear that Trump is “not calling the shots” on the border negotiations.
“I am calling the shots for the House. That’s our responsibility,” he said. “And I have been saying this far longer than President Trump has. I have been saying what the requirements are to fix the problem.”
Bates claimed that as negotiations on a border deal progress, Johnson is “flailing to come up with any excuse he can to prevent bipartisan action to secure the border.”
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