Mike Johnson Wants His Made-Up Border Crisis to Solve Itself
In a classic case of Boy Math, Speaker Johnson used his first floor speech to say he won't support any border deal to fix the border until the border is fixed?
On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson had the opportunity to give a rare speech without time constraints—his first floor speech as Speaker. And he seemingly dedicated it to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and every House Republican who’s convinced themselves that ISIS, Hamas, and transgender fentanyl dealers are invading the U.S.-Mexico border. The speech comes as House Republicans have made clear they plan to reject a proposed, months-in-the-making border deal from the Senate for not being insane enough. (According to the Hill, one aspect of the Senate deal that’s “eliciting GOP pushback” is a stipulation that the executive branch “halt migration if illegal crossings exceed 5,000 per day”—a threshold they see as too high.)
Referring to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who House Republicans are planning to target with impeachment, Johnson declared, “He’s inviting chaos and disorder within our land that is tearing at the very fabric of our society. The president can put a stop to this. President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have designed this catastrophe.”
“What kind of enforcement authority kicks in at 5,000 illegal crossings a day? The number should be zero. Zero,” Johnson said, repeating “zero” for dramatic effect. He continued, “[Biden] needs to immediately stop the mass release of illegals in our country, but he won’t do it. If he wants our House Republican conference to view him as a good-faith negotiator, he can start with a stroke of a pen. But he’s got to do it quickly.”
“President Biden wants to somehow try to shift the blame to Congress for his administration’s catastrophe by design. It’s absolutely laughable. No one’s falling for this,” Johnson declared.
In other words: Johnson won’t support any border deal to curb his made-up illegal immigration crisis… until the crisis solves itself…? It sounds a lot like ~boy math~ for racist, reactionary Republicans. “Really makes you think,” one Twitter user mused.
This—the notion that nothing can be done about Republicans’ immigration boogeyman until Biden alone casts a magical spell to fix everything—seems to be the caucus’ new go-to talking point, as they continue to rail against Biden on immigration for asking them to send him a deal he can sign. As Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX)—who spent Tuesday calling a Black Congresswoman’s husband a “thug”—put it, “Congress doesn’t have to do anything.”
If anything, I have to blame Biden for his gleeful willingness to play ball with Republicans on immigration, last week offering to shut down the border “right now” if Republicans send him a deal. All he’s done is further alienate members of his base who aren’t xenophobic assholes, while Republicans still continue to attack and blame him for everything.
“It is House Republicans who are saying they will block a historic bipartisan border security deal supported by President Biden that will deliver much-needed law enforcement hiring and investments in cutting-edge technology to stop fentanyl trafficking,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a Tuesday statement, in response to House members who were already whipping up a frenzy on the issue. “President Biden has been fighting to take rapid action to secure our border, even as House Republicans have consistently voted against the record funding this president has delivered year after year for that purpose.”
If Johnson’s speech tells us anything, it’s that this line of argument from Biden just isn’t going to work. It’s obviously wrong to compromise with Republicans on their racist border crackdown from a moral perspective. And even from a ~strategic~ one, you’re not going to out-Republican Republicans. They don’t actually care about the so-called immigration crisis that they know they’ve made up, and they’re never going to collaborate with the president. As Johnson himself put it, describing Biden’s request for a border deal to be brought to his desk: “It’s absolutely laughable.”