As the partial federal government shutdown entered Day 16, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) railed against Democrats for not caving to President Donald Trump’s demands for border wall funding, asserting that the GOP wouldn’t back down.
During an appearance Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” the senator told host Margaret Brennan that his weekend conversation with the president had made clear that the wall was non-negotiable.
Graham proceeded to vent his frustration with Democrats as talks to reopen the government continue to stall.
“We’re having to negotiate with people who want to abolish ICE, not support ICE,” he said. “We’re having to negotiate with people who see the Border Patrol agents gassing children, rather than defending our borders as professional law enforcement officers, and we’re negotiating with people who will give us one dollar for the wall, even though it’s immoral, and accuse all of us who support a wall as part of border security as racist.”
“We’re not going to negotiate with people who see the world this way.”
The senator added that cooperation was unlikely under Congress’ current leadership and vowed not to give in.
“As long as the radical left is in charge, we’re never going to get anywhere,” Graham said. “The president will compromise but he will not capitulate. So that’s where we’re at.”
Graham insisted that an agreement on a spending bill to get the government up and running again was nearly impossible, but Brennan reminded him of the thousands of federal workers who are either furloughed or punching the clock without pay.
“With that in mind, with them in mind, why can’t you reopen the government while you argue about the things you just laid out?” she wondered.
Graham argued it couldn’t yet be done.
“Why would you negotiate with somebody who calls you a racist if you want a wall?” he shot back. “Who gives you a dollar for a wall when the Democratic Party supported 25 billion dollars in the past? We’re not going to negotiate with people who see the world this way.”
Although Democrats have rejected Trump’s call for some $5 billion to shore up the barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, the president continues to ask, threatening to keep the government shut down for years if needed.