McConnell Clarifies: Border Deal Is Still Alive

Much confusion exists over the status of the deal opposed by Donald Trump
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2024 8:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 25, 2024 1:37 PM CST
McConnell Concedes to 'Nominee' Trump on Border
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to a gathering during a ceremony at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
UPDATE Jan 25, 2024 1:37 PM CST

It appears that Mitch McConnell isn't ready to give up on a border deal after all. Politico reports that the Senate minority leader clarified in a private party meeting on Thursday that he still wants to work out a deal on border security with Democrats linked to Ukraine aid. The remarks came after he reportedly suggested the opposite on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Hill reports that Senate Republicans are pushing allies of former President Trump in the chamber to get him to back off public criticism of the deal—at least until the final version emerges and they're able to assess it.

Jan 25, 2024 8:38 AM CST

Nikki Haley may insist that the 2024 primary fight continues, but Mitch McConnell apparently disagrees. Punchbowl News reports that the Senate minority leader referred to former President Trump as the "nominee" in a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans Wednesday during which he declared a bipartisan deal on border security all but dead. Trump wants to make immigration a big part of the 2024 election, and the outlet quotes McConnell as saying that "we don't want to do anything to undermine him."

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been working on a deal that combines border security with aid to Ukraine, though hardliners in the House have been adamant in their opposition to the bipartisan talks, per CNN. Trump, too, has been pressuring both McConnell and House Speaker Mike Johnson to scrap any deal on border security with the Democrats. The big question now is whether the Ukraine component will be severed from the immigration component of the legislation, per the Washington Examiner. It's also possible neither will survive, with CNN noting that Republicans are divided in their need for the foreign aid.

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"The politics of this have changed," McConnell reportedly told his caucus. "We're in a quandary." Trump and McConnell have had testy relations, particularly after the former president insulted Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife and Trump's former transportation secretary. "McConnell, though, wants to win the Senate back this November, and that can't happen without Trump if he's the GOP nominee," per Punchbowl. (More Mitch McConnell stories.)

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