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Buttigieg spars with 'Squawk Box' host over Biden's border policies

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sparred with the host of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” over President Biden’s border policies Tuesday, arguing former President Trump is to blame for the collapse of a bipartisan border deal.

“It was especially disappointing to see what happened with the border, right. You got congressional GOP talked about the border every chance they got, so you would think they would be interested in addressing it,” Buttigieg told CNBC’s Joe Kernan.

“It looked like there was gonna be a chance to do something real with real resources at the border, only for Donald Trump — who’s not even an elected official — to come in and kill it with the chill that he put on,” he added.

Kernan pushed back on Buttigieg’s remarks, saying the Biden administration did not become interested in solving the problems at the border “until it became clear it was going to be a major campaign issue.”

“Every time we hear those talking points that suddenly it was Republicans who ruined the border, that’s why people get so frustrated. We know what President Biden said about inviting people in, we know that he got rid of all the things that were keeping the border closed that President Trump had put in. We know that he got rid of all those,” Kernan said before Buttigieg interjected.

“It’s literally not true,” Buttigieg said.

The two proceeded to talk over each other, with Kernan pointing to high numbers of people crossing the border under Biden’s administration when compared to Trump’s. Buttigieg hit back, saying Biden “got rid of the policy to tear children out of the arms of their parents.”

“There have been bipartisan efforts to get something done here. But I really believe we’ve gotten to the point where many congressional Republicans find it so useful as a cudgel that they would rather keep the problem going for political uses then solve the problem and risk the chance that the president gets sharing credit for that,” Buttigieg said.

Kernan responded, referencing Biden’s poll numbers.

“The reason that some of these numbers stay where they are, is because it just seems like instead of actually owning some of the issues that we have, instead of acknowledging that the president maybe has lost a step, the administration keeps saying, ‘Don’t believe your lying eyes,’” he said.

The two continued to spar before Buttigieg again blamed GOP lawmakers for not addressing the issues at the border.

Buttigieg said the “common sense position” is that there “ought to be more legal immigration and less illegal immigration.”

“And yet when there’s a chance to actually do that, that’s not what happened. The last administration cut legal immigration and meanwhile, our economy is pulling people just as much as terrible conditions in Latin America are pushing people,” he said.

Trump had voiced his opposition to the bipartisan deal on the border, which Senate Republicans torpedoed last month after it was met with conservative backlash.

Source: The Hill

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