Trump and Republicans Attack Biden’s Border Action

Trump and Republicans Attack Biden’s Border Action

At the beginning of his remarks from the White House on Tuesday announcing that he would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Biden tried to make clear just whose fault it was that he was taking action by executive order.

The White House, Mr. Biden said, had struck an agreement with congressional Republicans earlier this year on what he called the “strongest border security agreement in decades.”

It did not take. Republicans bailed on the deal.

“Why? Because Donald Trump told them to,” Mr. Biden said. “He didn’t want to fix the issue. He wanted to use it to attack me. That’s what he wanted to do.”

On this, Mr. Biden proved correct.

Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee set to face Mr. Biden in the general election, indeed attacked the president a couple of hours before his border announcement. Mr. Trump, who has made hard-line immigration policies the center of his political identity since the start of his 2016 campaign, derided Mr. Biden’s executive order as too little action taken too late, and he argued that it was timed to benefit the president politically.

“After nearly four years of his failed weak leadership — pathetic leadership — Crooked Joe Biden is pretending to finally do something about the border,” Mr. Trump said in a video posted to his social media site. “But in fact, it’s all about show, because he knows we have a debate coming up in three weeks.”

The former president’s rhetoric echoed much of the reaction from allied Republicans. The Republican National Committee has adopted the alliterative “Biden’s Border Bloodbath.” Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina, the chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign arm, predicted that voters would be so angry about the border that “in November they will deport House Democrats from their seats for enabling this crisis.”

And Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a rival of Mr. Trump’s during the presidential primary who has become a staunch surrogate, criticized the executive order as a “Band-Aid” that would do little to curb border crossings. “President Biden would rather posture than do anything meaningful to secure our southern border,” he said in a statement.

Democratic reaction centered largely on blaming Mr. Trump and Republicans for not taking the deal they had negotiated earlier this year.

“President Biden sent Congress a comprehensive immigration reform plan on Day 1, and repeatedly requested more border resources from Congress, only to be blocked by Republicans,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a key Biden ally whose office listed actions she had taken to “secure the border” with Mexico, which is about 1,500 miles from her home state — though the one with Canada is just across the Detroit River.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he was “skeptical” that Mr. Biden’s executive order would withstand legal scrutiny. Yet he, too, blamed Republicans for forcing the president’s hand.

“Rather than working with Democrats to solve the problem, they’ve ensured we just have more of the dysfunctional status quo when Americans want the exact opposite,” Mr. Murphy said.

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