The Democratic Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson declared Sunday that he is open to the possibility of a border wall, a comment directly at odds with the statements made by the party’s leaders.
Both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have declared that they will not under any circumstances support funding for a barrier on the border. However, an increasing number of Democrats appear to be falling out of line with that sentiment.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” Thompson was asked if he would rule out a wall in negotiations with President Donald Trump to reopen the government.
“I would not rule out a wall in certain instances,” Thompson replied, adding that “the notion that we can’t have barriers is just something that’s not true.”
“You have to have a plan and the plan that the president initially started with is where he is now. We don’t know where he will be tomorrow.” Thompson continued.
Host Martha Raddatz further told Thompson “You just heard the chief of border protection for the San Diego sector tell me barriers are an essential part of effectively controlling the border.” referring to an earlier interview.
“He was showing me exactly the kind of barriers that President Trump was talking about … so why are Democrats opposed to any physical wall in addition to updated technology?” Raddatz asked.
“Well, I don’t think Democrats are opposed to any physical barriers. It’s just the president constantly evolves his description of the wall just as he indicated Mexico was going to pay for whatever was there.” Thompson replied.
“So what we have to do is sit down, work through this and let the public know exactly what we’re talking about and what they can expect. We’re not there yet. Democrats historically have supported certain barriers, certain other things to protect this country,” Thompson also noted.
While hardly a ringing endorsement, Thompson’s stance is a far cry from what Pelosi and Schumer have been repeating.
Thompson is also not the only Democrat to have softened on the wall, with several Senators and Representatives expressing support for border barriers:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this past weekend that he will take up legislation incorporating the deal President Trump outlined in a Saturday afternoon address.
For the measure to advance in the Senate, 60 votes would be needed, meaning if every Republican voted in favor, a further seven Democratic votes would be needed.