Sen. Lindsey Graham on shutdown: "Somebody's got to lead. The White House staff has been pretty unreliable." pic.twitter.com/Da9BNXZmmd— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 21, 2018
GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham (S.C.) is a part of a small bipartisan group of senators trying to negotiate a deal to end the ongoing government shutdown. However, he believes some White House staffers are making it very hard to reach an agreement and resolve the issue that is currently hurting hundreds of thousands of federal employees, low-wage federal contractors, security guards, janitors and military families.
“Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members,” Graham told reporters.
Although Republican senators and lawmakers don’t usually name-check President Donald Trump’s aides while criticizing them, the South Carolina senator went a step further and slammed one specific key member of the commander-in-chief’s xenophobic and bigoted entourage: Stephen Miller.
“As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere," Graham told added. “He’s been an outlier for years."
Miller, who was recently escorted off the CNN set after losing his cool at “State of the Union” host Jape Tapper during an interview, is believed to be an integral part of the Islamophobic team in the Trump administration that drafted the Muslim travel ban.
The 32-year-old is also notorious for his hard-line and racist views on immigrations and people of color. In fact, during his middle school days, Miller reportedly stopped being friends with someone because they were Latino.
According to Graham, Miller has become an obstacle when it come to discussing the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, adding fuel to the reports that both he and White House Chief Of Staff Gen. John Kelly seem to be leading the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the GOP senator claimed the president is not to be blamed for the delay.
“I talked with the president. His heart is right on this issue,” he continued. “I think he's got a good understanding of what will sell and every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members.”
Graham later took to Twitter to clarify his criticism did not extend to Kelly.
President Trump has expressed a desire to have border security with compassion on immigration. #winningcombination.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 21, 2018
General Kelly is tough but reasonable.
Some other staff in the White House hold extreme and unrealistic views.
They hold us back from getting a solution.
He also said Kelly “has brought order to chaos in the White House.”
“I don't know what medal you could give him but he has really created a process at the White House that is far more orderly,” Graham added jokingly.
The October 2013 government shutdown lasted more than two weeks and more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed. It also cost taxpayers $24 billion.
So, unless Trump — or whoever might be pulling his strings — gets his act together and work with the senators to reach an agreement, things are bound to get worse.
Thumbnail/Banner : Reuters, Jonathan Ernst/ Aaron P. Bernstein