A few months ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan filmed an ad that said “it’s time” for the U.S. to get behind Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall across the border with Mexico. In conjunction with that ad, the House passed an appropriations bill setting aside more than a billion dollars to begin construction. But behind closed doors, Ryan has said that there is almost no chance that Congress will actually pony up the money.
According to Breitbart News, Ryan told fellow Republicans at a private dinner this summer that only “one member” of his inner leadership circle was even slightly interested in funding the wall. “Ryan told a group of Republicans he met with…that only one person wants a wall,” former Rep. Tom Tancredo told Breitbart.
Tancredo said he took issue with the characterization, insisting that “several people in Congress” were enthusiastic about border security. However, he admitted that congressional support – and even popular support among the electorate – was not the driving factor behind the leadership’s decision-making on the issue.
“You have to understand the level of fear that exists in the Republican establishment about this issue,” Tancredo told Breitbart News, seeking to explain the pressures that Republican members of Congress face when addressing immigration.
“The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want a wall … the pressure is greater from the Chamber of Commerce than it is from the members,” Tancredo, who for years in the House fought a mostly fruitless battle to get Congress to combat the flood of illegal immigration, added. “That’s the basic problem. It was then. It is now.”
Tancredo and others who spoke to Breitbart emphasized that the resistance wasn’t necessarily coming from Ryan himself; the problem, they said, was a general lack of support within the party.
This doesn’t honestly come as much of a surprise. It’s been painfully obvious that the GOP is far behind conservative voters when it comes to stemming illegal immigration. Those that haven’t actually come out on television to dismiss the idea of building a wall have downplayed the issue at every opportunity. To say it’s going to be an uphill battle is putting it mildly. And that’s a shame, because it could have been a real game changer.