Republican strategist: Trump's rhetoric unhelpful in getting border funding

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey on Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE over his rhetoric on immigration, saying it has turned the debate into a “polarizing issue” and has proved unhelpful in securing border wall funding. 

"You come in with over the top rhetoric, it becomes a polarizing issue,” Claffey, a former Department of Homeland Security official under the Trump administration, told Hill.TV. "Now all of the talks have broken down."

Claffey called the Senate’s deal on Trump’s request for more border funding a “miracle.”

"I think that’s despite of the president, despite of the rhetoric he’s been deploying on this,” she told Hill.TV.

The Republican strategist noted that securing funds for improving border security hasn't always been such a partisan issue. 

"I remember when I was working on the Hill and this was actually more of a no-nonsense bipartisan issue — border security was constantly funded at a level that was adequate for CBP’s [Customs and Border Protection] request," she told Hill.TV. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation on Wednesday that would give Trump more than $4.5 billion in additional emergency funding to address an influx of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border.

More than half of this funding would go to the Department of Health and Human Services. The new funds also include more aide for Department of Homeland Security, including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure before the July 4th recess next week. The legislation is expected to face an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled House, where Democrats have long spoken out against Trump’s border policies.

—Tess Bonn