Peggy Noonan to Tim Kaine: Why Can't The U.S. Control Its Borders?

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On Tuesday's edition of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' 'Wall Street Journal' columnist Peggy Noonan asks Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine why he opposes President Trump's plan to control the southern border: "Why can't the U.S. control its southern border, by which I mean it wasn't controlling it during the George W. Bush era. It wasn't controlling it during the Obama era. What is the reason we have not been able to do that, or are we controlling the border, you think, and no one's noticing?"

PEGGY NOONAN: Senator, good morning. Peggy Noonan here.

KAINE: Good morning, Peggy.

NOONAN: I've got a question for you.



You've been very amusing on Twitter about the president's announced intention to send U.S. forces to the southern border. Let me ask just a big, plain question.

KAINE: Sure.

NOONAN: Why can't the U.S. control its southern border, by which I mean it wasn't controlling it during the George W. Bush era. It wasn't controlling it during the Obama era. What is the reason we have not been able to do that, or are we controlling the border, you think, and no one's noticing?

KAINE: Peggy, look, I think we do need to do more border control. When -- in June of 2013, I voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have put $40 billion into better border security. And just a month ago, six weeks ago, we presented to the president a proposal -- I was the lead Democratic negotiator, to do $25 billion of border security and permanent protection for dreamers. We asked the president, can you take yes for an answer and he turned us down.

So I do think there are steps that we need to take at the border. But what I object to --

NOONAN: But, you know, I've been surrounded for 20 years by Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate speaking about better border security.

KAINE: Yes.

NOONAN: Somehow it never gets secured. It's never the number one item on the list. It's always number three, four or five. Why can't we do this? Twenty years now.

KAINE: We -- we -- we -- we should be able to. I -- I don't -- Peggy, I don't have a good answer for you. When we -- when we presented the president in mid-February with a proposal, I mean, get this, he said, dreamers deserve a path to citizenship and Congress should fix it, so we did. He asked for $25 billion in border security, and we gave him a deal that wasn't $24 billion, it was $25 billion. And he turned it down.

And then, a month later, when we passed the budget, he acted surprised that there wasn't border money in it. We came to the president with a bipartisan deal saying, do you want to secure the border or not and he said no.

I -- I sometimes wonder that -- whether he likes to keep this as a live issue just to rev up his base. And the other thing I object to as a member of the Armed Services Committee with a kid in the Marines, I don't like him using the military as a palace guard. We're going to have a parade. Oh, no, now the guardsmen can go and do weed whacking at the border based on a tweet.

I want to see a strategy. If the right strategy is to send guard troops to the border, look, when I was a Virginia governor, we sent Virginia guard to the border, but it was pursuant to a strategy, not just a president acting like the military was his palace guard and he could do whatever he wanted on a day in question.

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