GOP Rep. Palmer: Dems Willing To Risk American Lives for Sake of 2020 Political Advantage


A top Republican House member charged Democrats with being willing to risk Americans’ lives by opposing border wall funding for the sake of furthering their party’s 2020 political ambitions.

“My great concern about this whole debate is this is not about what is best for the American people,” Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama told The Western Journal.

“It’s not about securing the border,” he said. “It’s about the 2020 presidential campaign, and the Democrats literally have, in my opinion, been willing to risk the lives of American citizens for political advantage. And that’s a shame. Not all of them.”

Palmer was elected chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee last month, making him the fifth-ranking member in GOP House leadership, reported.

The congressman told The Western Journal at least 50 Democrats have said they support a wall along the nation’s southern border, meaning there are more than enough of the votes needed to clear the House when combined with those of Republicans. So far, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to consider any legislation with funding for it.

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Palmer argued that Republicans have to be stronger in messaging what is really at stake in failing to secure the border.

“It’s not about keeping some poor family from coming over here and trying to make a better life for themselves. Any self-respecting man would do that for his family,” he said. “This is about doing whatever we can to reduce the number of people dying from drug overdoses and the number of people who are murdered from people who are here illegally.”

The lawmaker pointed out that drug overdoses last year killed 72,000 Americans, which is approximately 13,000 more than the number of U.S. military personnel killed during the entire Vietnam War.

When former President Barack Obama took office in 2008, that number of deaths by drug overdoses was under 40,000, but in the ensuing decade they have risen dramatically, Palmer said.

Do you think Democrats are risking American lives by opposing a border wall?

Last weekend, Customs and Border Protection agents caught smugglers trying to bring in a record 254 pounds of the fentanyl into the U.S. from Mexico, The Arizona Republic reported.

Saturday’s bust at Nogales, Arizona, represented enough of the opiate drug to kill 115 million Americans.

Palmer highlighted that the danger to the nation’s citizens from a weak border is not just from drugs or illegal aliens committing violent crimes, but terrorists exploiting it as a means to access the country.

Last year, he said, six known terrorists were captured at the southern border, along with 41 others suspected of having links to terrorism.

In December from the House floor, Palmer said the Islamic State has produced written materials encouraging its followers to cross the southwest border.

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He cited Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s statement that her agency is blocking on average 10 known or suspected terrorists from entering the U.S. every day, through the various ports of entry around the country.

The congressman gave the example of four individuals who were recently stopped in Panama while trying to make their way to the U.S.

“Thanks to a fortunate tip and coordination between U.S. and Panamanian law enforcement, these individuals were stopped,” Palmer said. “This should be alarming to all Americans, due to our lack of robust border security.”

President Donald Trump said Friday he is not expecting lawmakers to reach a compromise regarding border wall funding.

Trump told reporters there was a “good chance” he would have to declare a national emergency to secure the resources necessary, given the Democrat intransigence concerning the matter.

Another option the president hinted at was directing the military to construct border barriers.

“(R)egardless, we’re building wall. We’re building a lot of wall,” Trump said. “But I could do it a lot faster the other way.”

Trump told reporters he planned to make a major announcement concerning border wall construction during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Palmer signaled in an interview with NPR last month an openness to Trump declaring an emergency to secure the funding.

“I think what’s going on at the border is an emergency,” he said, adding that Democrats have shown an unwillingness to even engage in a discussion regarding the issue, which is what is a prerequisite to reaching a compromise.

Palmer, 64, was first elected to Congress in 2014, having never before held elected public office; however, he was not new to the political arena.

After spending several years with a construction engineering firm, in 1989 he founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute.

The University of Alabama grad served as president of the think tank for 24 years, advocating for policy reforms on a wide variety of issues.

Veteran conservative columnist Quin Hillyer, who is based in Alabama, described Palmer as a “policy maven,” adding many of his recommendations over the years became law in the Yellowhammer State.

“Everything I have ever seen him do has been first-rate,” Hillyer said.

Gabe Joseph contributed to this report.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith