Jon Kyl Walks Back Claim That Obama Is Holding Border Security “Hostage”
Senator Jon Kyl is distancing himself from earlier comments that he made accusing the President of holding border security "hostage."
Earlier this week, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl made this rather startling claim:
On June 18, 2010, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting that during a private, one-on-one meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, the President told him, regarding securing the southern border with Mexico, “The problem is, . . . if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.'” [Audible gasps were heard throughout the audience.] Sen. Kyl continued, “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with ‘comprehensive immigration reform.'”
Sen. Kyl also said he reminded President Obama that the President and the Congress have an obligation, a duty, to secure the border. I shot the following video of Sen. Kyl while sitting next to the man who asked the question.
You can see video of Kyl’s statement here.
The White House quickly shot back and denied that the conversation Kyl related had ever taken place, but then Kyl’s fellow Arizona Senator, John McCain, said that the same thing had been said to him. Kyl’s and McCain’s statement’s were immediately taken up by conservative bloggers and commentators, with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and Tucker Carlson calling it a dereliction of duty.
Well, now it seems that Kyl is trying to say that he didn’t say what people claim he said:
Kyl, of course, had a small spat with the White House last week over comments he made at a town-hall meeting. Kyl, responding to a voter’s question, detailed a recent one-on-one conversation he had with the president. “They are holding [border security] hostage” over hopes for comprehensive immigration reform, Kyl said at the forum.
Kyl tells us that the comments were “taken a bit out of context,” and that the “they” he was referring to was the Left, “the president’s base,” and not the administration. “I did not try to start a fight. This meeting happened a month ago and we were talking in the context of his political problems. He was talking about how they think that if we secure the border, you guys [Republicans] won’t have the incentive to work on comprehensive immigration reform.”
The problem, of course, is that if you go back and watch the video, it’s fairly clear that Kyl was at the very least implying that it was the President himself who was saying that he would not secure the border without a deal on immigration reform. Now, Kyl is saying that he was actually referring to the President’s supporters, a very different thing obviously.More importantly, Kyl clearly spent most of the week allowing the impression to be held by the public that he had been referring directly to the President.
So, is Kyl a jerk who was pretty much lying about what the President said to him, or is he a political opportunist trying to heal a rift with the White House ?
I’ll leave that for the readers to decide themselves.