On Wednesday morning, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer asked DNC Chair Tom Perez “what changed” to convince Democrats who voted for increased border security in 2006 and 2013 to resolutely oppose President Donald Trump on a wall now. Perez did not answer the question, and attempted to combat the idea that the difference has more to do with personality than policy.
“You passed a lot of bills. [In] 2013, [Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)] voted for more border security. [Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)] voted for more border security. [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)] voted for it. 2006, Hillary Clinton voted for it, Barack Obama voted for it; Schumer voted for it again going back 12 years,” Hemmer noted.
“The Democrats believe in meaningful border security,” Perez admitted. “I’m proud of the work I did under Barack Obama to make sure that we were securing our borders and countering violent extremism at home.”
“So what in the world changed from 2013? What changed from 2006?” Hemmer, the anchor of “America’s Newsroom,” pressed. “What the White House will say, ‘if the president says “purple,” you’ll say “blue,” and it’s really not about policy, it’s about personality.'”
Perez disagreed with the idea that Democratic opposition on the wall is about personality rather than policy.
“Again, Democrats have always believed in strong border security but we want smart border security,” he insisted. “Building a wall is not smart border security.” He suggested Obama-era programs like the “Countering Violent Extremism” initiative instead.
He went on to note that for President Trump, “building a wall is fulfilling a campaign promise. That is not securing our borders.”
Whether building a wall is smart policy or not, the DNC chair is right to say this was a fundamental campaign promise for Trump. The president has been willing to decrease the amount of funding he requests for the wall. Why won’t Democrats just agree to a deal for the $5 billion? In terms of the federal debt, that’s pocket change.