Trump delivers Oval Office address on border security, Democratic leaders follow with rebuttal; reaction from Sen. Lindsey Graham.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It couldn't be more real to them.
This is the most presidential I have seen President Trump. It was
compelling and everything he said was true.
About 30 percent of the 2,200 miles of border has some form of barrier.
There are already walls along the border. We just need to extend those
walls where it makes sense.
The one thing we have in common, as a member of the Senate, speaker of the
House, minority leader of the Senate and president of the United States, we
have a bunch of people guarding us with guns. It's pretty hard to get in
the capitol, really hard to get in the White House.
All the president is saying is I'd like to provide more security to the
American people. It is a crisis, Sean. I have tried to be reasonable and
practical, but when it comes to immigration, and I'm flabbergasted to hear
from my Democratic colleagues who have voted for billions of dollars in
border security money that this is manufactured.
Was it manufactured when Obama wanted the money? No. Why did you give the
money to Obama and Bush if it was a manufactured crisis?
HANNITY: I think if you look, Hillary Clinton supported it, Chuck Schumer
supported it, Biden supported it. Obama supported it.
HANNITY: We have had in the last two weeks really high profile incidences,
one is Officer Singh and the other is this young man, his parents were on
this show last night. Pierce Corcoran died, illegal immigrant killed him
in a drunk driving accident.
And the question here is when you add to that the human trafficking, the
drug trafficking --
HANNITY: -- and you add to that the violence at the border. And let's
assume 98 percent of people across the border, which I believe, are people
that want more freedom and opportunity.
HANNITY: But we've got to ask ourselves, if we lose 4,000 lives in a two-
year period, is that a manufactured crisis?
GRAHAM: To my Democratic friends, how many caravans have to rush the
border until you believe we have a problem? We have 300,000 people waiting
for asylum claims to be adjudicated. We have 11,000 unaccompanied minors
from Central America. It costs us $750 a day to house them. Only God
knows what they go through to get here.
Illegal immigration is on the rise because our policies are attracting
people here. Every Democrat, you heard from tonight, has voted for border
security. But when it comes to Trump, they say no.
So, Nancy Pelosi says end the shutdown. Donald Trump says secure the
border. How about this? Let's secure the border then end the shutdown.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, Senator, it seems to come down to their argument
is and I know it is inconvenient for those furloughed employees.
GRAHAM: Yes, yes.
HANNITY: I acknowledge and I can sympathize with them. I know their
checks are going to be delayed in some cases. It's a partial government
shutdown. Essential services are up and running and that constitutes what
two thirds to 70 percent of the government stays hope open. And I do want
these people furloughed to get back-money, et cetera.
But the point is the president doesn't take the stand here, fully. Do you
see any other path that he can use that he will get the money to stop the
crimes from happening on our southern border, the drug trafficking, human
trafficking, some criminal elements that want to cross over our border?
GRAHAM: I have been dealing with this since 2006. This is the best chance
I have seen to get a deal. The president made a compelling case tonight
for more border security. And I think he is right to ask for more money to
secure our border.
As to the government employees, I'm sorry you are in the middle of this
mess. But you will get your back pay. You are going to be fully
Ms. Singh is not going to get her husband back.
To all those people who have lost loved ones from illegal immigration, your
loved ones are not coming back.
So I am bound and determined to see this thing through. There should be a
deal where we secure the border, give the president the wall money he
needs, and try to fix other problems like TPS reform and maybe do something
for the DACA population.
There is a deal to be had here. But it's hard to get a deal when people
you're dealing with call you a racist because you want a border security
wall. Give you a dollar and say that's enough. Accuse border patrol
agents of gassing children when mobs run toward our border.
We're dealing with pretty radical people here and we're never going to get
a deal until the radicals are set to the side and we get reasonable people
to deal with.
HANNITY: You know, especially considering it was supported by Democrats in
the past. You are making a good point here. If people want to, as we
know, abolish ICE, Kamala Harris actually said to the former head of ICE,
Tom Homan, suggested that, well, you know there is a perception that ICE is
at least in people's minds perceived as the Ku Klux Klan.
GRAHAM: Right, right.
HANNITY: I was pretty stunned we would talk about brave law enforcement
that way. We also watched these officers get pelted with rocks and bottles
HANNITY: -- on two occasions during the migrant caravan and on New Year's
The bottom line is this: this is the question I think we need to ask
tonight. Will the wall work? In Huma, Arizona, the sheriff said it works.
It works, every time it's been tried.
GRAHAM: Well, it works in Israel.
I can tell you, I have been dealing with border security issues for 10
years, plus. Every time we build a physical barrier, the drug trafficking
goes down. The illegal crossings go down.
There are some places you don't need a physical barrier but there is 700
miles of fencing has been authorized since 2006. We just want to build
what we have already agreed to do. And so, the bottom line is walls work.
But you are dealing with a group of people who see their government as the
problem. They see the border patrol agent as the problem, not the mob.
They see the ICE agent as the problem, not the illegal immigrant they are
trying to go after. They see walls as already exist as immoral.
You know what I think is immoral, is to accuse people of trying to defend
the nation, honestly and working hard and putting their lives at risk of
being the problem and not the coyote, not the drug dealer, not the
terrorist. So, if Democrats want a fight, they are going to get one. If
they want to solve the problem, we will do that too.
HANNITY: It seems if we -- I want to know where your fellow Republican
senators stand here. Because if the argument of the Democrats is this is a
manufactured crisis -- well, that goes against the number of homicides and
that two-year period and sex offenses that have taken place in that two-
year period and violent acts against Americans in that two-year period, and
the drug and the human trafficking.
The question is here, we're talking about on the one hand, we're going to
have some people that work for our government that are inconvenienced. I
am sympathetic to that.
GRAHAM: I'm sorry about that, yes. Me too.
HANNITY: But I'm also sympathetic to the parents that were on this program
last night. I'm sympathetic of the 5-month-old little boy of a police
officer in California that will never see his father for the rest of his
life. And I'm sympathetic to the victims of crime.
Are your fellow Republicans willing to say life and death is more important
than a delayed paycheck and inconvenience?
GRAHAM: I hope Republicans will remember, like most Democrats, you voted
for $25 billion for border security funding in February of 2018. If it was
not - if it's a manufactured crisis, Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, why
did you vote for a border security package less than a year ago that had
$25 billion for border security, including wall money to my Republican
This is the best chance we'll ever have to help President Trump gets border
wall funding, still barrier funding and at the same time fix the loopholes.
The only way we lose is to give in. If we'll stand firm, put deals on the
table that makes sense, we will win this on behalf of the American people.
But if we undercut the President, that's the end of his presidency and the
end of our party, and we deserve to be punished if we give in now.
HANNITY: In other words, as long as it takes, you believe you and your
fellow senators are willing to stay and fight to stop drugs, human
trafficking and criminal activity from the small percentage of people that
cross our border because it's unsafe and not secured.
GRAHAM: Before the end of this week I intend to put legislation together
that has wall funding like the President has requested and argue that we
voted for the same thing in the past before he was President. I intend to
put legal reforms on the table that we've all voted for. I intend to help
the TPS population, about 400,000 people, going to lose their legal status.
Now, I'm willing to entertain legal status for the DREAM Act population
that we've all voted for.
So what am I going to do? I'm going to take bills we've all voted for, and
see if they can be voted for under Trump. The problem is not the policy,
the problem is that my Democratic friends don't acknowledge that President
Trump won, that's the problem.