White House official slams Graham on immigration

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A White House official on Thursday anonymously attacked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for his role in the immigration debate in Congress.

The official slammed Graham in harsh terms after the senator blasted top White House aide Stephen Miller and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for opposing a bipartisan proposal to protect so-called Dreamers.

“He has been an obstacle to immigration reform. He has been an obstacle in the way of getting relief for Dreamers,” the official said of Graham. 


The official also accused Graham of being the “chairman of the Democratic conference” because of his views of immigration. 
The official spoke on a conference call with reporters to bat down an immigration plan supported by Graham and over a dozen other Republican and Democratic senators, which the White House has threatened to veto.
A White House spokesman refused multiple requests by reporters to attach the official’s name to the attacks lobbed against Graham, despite the official not personally objecting to being named.
The official made the attacks after Graham denounced DHS on Thursday for releasing a statement opposing the bipartisan immigration plan. 
Speaking to reporters on the record, Graham said that President Trump is “most days pretty good on this” but that the DHS statement came from “a political hack” who he said used to work for former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), an immigration hard-liner. 
The DHS statement said the proposal “ignores the lessons of 9/11 and significantly increases the risk of crime and terrorism.”
Graham said that “as long as Stephen Miller is running the White House and Tom Tancredo’s press secretary at DHS” the immigration debate won’t be resolved.
The White House official fired back, pointing to the failure of past attempts to overhaul the immigration system.
“At some point you have to ask yourself the question if Lindsey Graham’s role in drafting those bills means that instead of being the solution to the problem, Lindsey Graham’s presence on those bills is the problem,” the official said. 
Graham has a history of sparring with the White House over immigration, most notably with Miller. 
Last month, he blamed the top policy aide for blocking immigration proposals that Trump himself might support. 
“Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we’re going nowhere,” Graham told reporters as he headed into a closed-door negotiation with a bipartisan group of senators.
A day later, Graham turned down an invitation from Fox News host Tucker Carlson to debate the issue with Miller on his show. Carlson said Miller was willing to go on air to hash out his differences with Graham on immigration.
The White House insisted on anonymity Thursday for the official firing back at Graham, despite criticizing reporters in the past for the use of unnamed sources, saying they cannot be trusted.
“I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing last June.
“News outlets get to go on day after day and site unnamed sources, use stories without sources.”
Sanders said last October the White House would push for more officials to be named because “it’s hard for us to argue that we want you guys to have on-record sources if we’re not going on the record.”
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