(AP/Susan Walsh)

Lindsey Graham slams Stephen Miller, says "White House staff has been pretty unreliable"

"As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere"

Charlie May
January 21, 2018 9:12PM (UTC)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., issued a sharp critique of the White House on Sunday afternoon, telling reporters, "somebody's got to lead," in order to put an end to the ongoing federal shutdown that has entered its second day — as no clear indication of an end is in sight. Graham also took specific shots at White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, and said he hoped for a "breakthrough" on negotiations as early as Sunday night. He warned things would only get uglier otherwise.


"Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere," Graham told reporters on Sunday afternoon. "He’s been an outlier for years." Miller's far-right views, specifically on immigration, are well-known.

Graham went on to tell reporters, "I’ve talked with the president — his heart is right on this issue."

"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," he said.

Graham added, "the White House staff, I think, is making it very difficult."

The South Carolina senator pointed out that the White House had originally requested $18 billion for border security and the president's promised so-called wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. During a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers earlier this month, Graham recalled Trump claiming that $18 billion was too much money and that he could do it for less.


"So what does the White House staff do a couple of days later? They pitch a proposal for $33 billion. That’s just not credible," Graham said.

Though there have been proposals of bipartisan solutions, the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats has persisted, but Graham said he believed a breakthrough would happen on Sunday night. Bipartisan members of the Senate met on Sunday afternoon "with the goal of crafting a proposal to set up an immigration vote in that chamber as well as an agreement to reopen the government until Feb. 8, Politico reported.

"If there's going to be one, it will be tonight," Graham said. Though, the outlook is still quite bleak at the moment.

As far as the future of the shutdown goes, here are some of the latest updates:

Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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