Miles Taylor, the former Trump administration official who has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE, claimed Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE offered to pardon officials who broke the law while carrying out his immigration policy.
Taylor, a top official in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) between 2017 and 2019, makes the allegations in a new advertisement released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT). In it, he claims that Trump called for closing the U.S.-Mexico border and dismissed concerns about such a move violating the law.
“It was April of 2019. We were down at the border, and the president said to the senior leadership of the Homeland Security Department behind the scenes, we should not let anyone else into the United States,” Taylor said. “And even though he had been told on repeated occasions that the way he wanted to do it was illegal, his response was to say, ‘Do it. If you get in trouble, I'll pardon you.'"
Taylor said that officials made it clear to the president that it is illegal to unilaterally deny people access to the southern border.
"[Trump] said, ‘I don’t care.’ His exact words were, ‘The bins are full,'" he said, adding that the exchange compelled him to resign from his post.
The advertisement is set to air on Fox News in swing states amid this week's Republican National Convention, an RVAT spokesperson told The Hill.
Trump and DHS have repeatedly denied reports that the president offered pardons to officials who carried out illegal border policies.
The New York Times first reported in April 2019 that Trump told a top immigration official to close the southern border to migrants. The president reportedly told the official that he would pardon him if he ran into legal trouble because of the move. A person familiar with the matter told the newspaper that Trump may have been joking, but that it alarmed DHS officials.
"I never offered Pardons to Homeland Security Officials, never ordered anyone to close our Southern Border (although I have the absolute right to do so, and may if Mexico does not apprehend the illegals coming to our Border), and am not 'frustrated.' It is all Fake & Corrupt News!" Trump said in a tweet last year.
DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Taylor's new claims.
Taylor earlier this month announced he is endorsing Biden, going a step further than most former Trump administration officials-turned-critics. He and two other former DHS officials are also behind the new group Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, which was launched with the goal of defeating Trump in November.