House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is grilled on Democratic opposition to a border wall and responds to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling one "immoral."
"We’ve supported substantial restraints," Hoyer said of Democrats. "We’ve supported fencing. We’ve supported other technologies. So my own view is that this is not an issue of morality. A wall is immoral if it tries to imprison people who shouldn’t be imprisoned."
"A wall that protects people is not immoral," Hoyer said Wednesday. "I think the issue is whether it works."
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS 'SPECIAL REPORT' HOST: Well, here is the speaker and the Senate Majority Leader today.
NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: A wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation. It’s a wall between reality and his constituents. His supporters.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The speaker has recently defined a brand new dogma for the Democratic Party. Actually enforcing our immigration laws with the help of physical barriers is quote, “an immorality.” It seems like democrats are happy to take their cues from the gentle lady from San Francisco and her extreme fringe position.
BAIER: And do you agree with that, Mr. Leader?
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): No. Well, I -- with that, the guy I just heard was Senator McConnell. I don’t agree.
BAIER: No, about the immorality.
HOYER: I don’t agree with that. Look, I don’t think this is an issue of morality; it’s an issue of does it work? And Senator Cornyn, Senator Graham, other members of the United States Senate have put in question whether a wall works, whether that is the best way to secure the border.
Now is -- are some restraints? We’ve supported substantial restraints. We’ve supported fencing. We’ve supported other technologies. So my own view is that this is not an issue of morality. A wall is immoral if it tries to imprison people who shouldn’t be imprisoned.
HOYER: A wall is -- that protects people is not immoral. I think the issue is whether it works.
BAIER: You have all kinds -- you have all kinds of Democrats speaking out about the wall. Beto O’Rourke, a congressman who may be running for president, who knows, said that wall in itself is a racist reaction to a racist myth that does not reflect the reality of this country at all. Do you think a wall, a barrier is racist?
HOYER: Look, Bret --
BAIER: Listen, Mr. Leader, here’s the --
HOYER: I -- I don’t -- I don’t talk in those terms. I don’t -- I don’t think that’s the way we ought to look at it. Again, the reason I mention Republican Senators and House members and the fact that the House didn’t bring a bill to the floor until there were 10 days left in the year, is because there are an awful lot of people who just believe in and of itself will not work. And a wall is not the best place to spend money. That’s what I believe.
BAIER: So for the people who are living in those Border States, especially with some barrier that has been constructed, would you remove those existing barriers because you say they don’t work?
HOYER: No. No.
BAIER: So they work there.
HOYER: Bret, let me tell you, you just said the people who live on the border area. You talk to the people along the Rio Grande. And particular a lot of towns that have comers back and forth on a regular basis and have no problem that’s why Senator Cornyn is not a huge advocate of the wall. And you -- you can ask him and read his quotes. I’m not saying his not supporting the president in building the wall --
BAIER: So they work some places?
HOYER: Whether he -- obviously they work some places. But the president wanted to first build a wall apparently 1,954 miles of -- and he changed that very substantially. And the debate ought to be not on morality or racism, I will -- I will say that we’re not pleased with some rhetoric that has come about dealing with those -- coming across the border and we think some of the rhetoric was in fact racist. We think some of that rhetoric was to inflame and was not based upon facts.
But having said that, we’re prepared to work with the president to make sure our borders are secure. And that’s the important point.