'What Changed?': Hemmer Presses DNC Chair on Dems Supporting Border Security Before Trump Took Office
On "America's Newsroom" Wednesday, Bill Hemmer pressed Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Democratic lawmakers changing their tune on border security now that President Trump is in office.
Hemmer noted that in 2013, many prominent Democrats voted for enhanced border security, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
He added that in 2006, Schumer, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y) also supported border security.
"What in the world changed from 2013? What changed from 2006?" Hemmer asked.
Perez said Democrats are serious about border security, as they always have been, but they do not believe President's Trump's claims about the "manufactured crisis" at the border.
Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night amid an ongoing partial government shutdown, imploring congressional Democrats to back legislation that would fund a border wall.
"This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting," he said, calling on members of Congress to help end the border "crisis."
Perez said Democrats are ready to pass legislation that would reopen the government that does not include funding for the wall.
Pointing out that those bills already passed in the Senate on a 92-6 vote in December, he said the way forward is to reopen the government and then have a robust debate on immigration and border security in Congress.
"Democrats have always believed in strong border security, but we want smart border security," Perez said. "We should be investing in preventing homegrown terrorism, we should be investing the technologies necessary to combat bad guys. Building a wall is fulfilling a campaign promise. That is not securing our borders."
He noted that airports, not the southern border, are the most frequent places where terrorists try to enter the U.S., and TSA officers could be impacted by the shutdown.
"When you have a Transportation Security [Administration] officer working the airport right now, they should not be distracted. But when they're worried about their next paycheck, they're distracted," Perez said. "So, Mr. President, open up the federal government."
Watch the "America's Newsroom" above, and see Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) weigh in on the border funding battle below.