Dem senator: Abolishing ICE 'a terrible idea'

Dem senator: Abolishing ICE 'a terrible idea'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (D-Ind.) this week came out in opposition to calls from some Democrats to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I think that’s a terrible idea,” Donnelly told the Washington Examiner on Monday. "It’s important that we have strong, and safe, and secure borders, and ICE is a part of that."

Donnelly, who is facing a tough reelection campaign against Republican Mike Braun, also voiced opposition to a push among some Democrats for nationalized health insurance.


Dozens of House Democrats have backed plans for "Medicare for all" legislation.

“I’m trying to protect what we have now,” Donnelly told the Examiner. “That’s my focus — is to make sure we can protect pre-existing conditions, protect the Affordable Care Act.”

Several Democratic senators have pushed back on calls to dismantle ICE, an idea that has been endorsed by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Senate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up MORE (D-N.Y.) and others in the wake of controversy over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which led to the separation of thousands of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.

Donnelly, who is running for reelection in a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE carried by double digits in 2016, has also faced criticism from Republicans over his vote against the GOP's tax-cut bill — criticism he dismissed in his interview with the Examiner this week.

“I voted with [Trump] 62 percent of the time,” he said. “My job isn’t to be his puppy dog, my job is to be the senator from Indiana. If you want someone who is going to be with you on every single thing, you know there’s an old saying: If you agree with someone on everything, then one of you is not needed. My job is to be the senator for the people here.”

Donnelly also refused in the interview to take a firm stand against Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.

The Democratic senator reiterated the commitment he voiced last month to meet with Kavanaugh before deciding whether or not to oppose his nomination.

“I’m going to meet with him on [Aug.] 15, and just go through all of the questions that I have,” Donnelly said. “I’m not an ideologue on this, I don’t have litmus tests, and I will look at it on its face.”

Donnelly was among three Senate Democrats who voted for Trump's first pick for the high court, Neil Gorsuch, last year.