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Flake: You can’t call US troops at the border anything other than a ‘stunt’

Flake: You can’t call US troops at the border anything other than a ‘stunt’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeProfiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare front and center; transition standoff continues MORE (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that it's unnecessary to send U.S. troops to the southern border to prepare for the arrival of Central American migrants, calling the move ordered by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE a "stunt."

Flake, who will retire from the Senate in January, was asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" what he would tell a soldier deployed to the border wanting to know why they were sent there.

"I think it’s unfortunate that we have the soldiers [at the border]," Flake said. "You can’t call it anything but a stunt here, and it’s unfortunate that they’re going to be away from family during the holidays coming up, and we just don’t know what really for.

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"We don’t know where the caravan, if it makes it north, is going to come," he continued. "I think it could be handled by civilians that we have there in terms of Border patrol and others. So I don’t know what I could tell them other than we shouldn’t be doing this, and this wasn’t an issue that Congress was involved in, it was an executive decision."

Trump ordered thousands of troops be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to defend against the arrival of a so-called caravan of migrants making its way north through Mexico. Some of the group members could arrive at the U.S. border in the coming days, while other migrants are straggling behind and are still hundreds of miles away.

Leading up to the midterm elections, the president painted the group as an imminent threat to national security, regularly sounding the alarm about their arrival on Twitter and at campaign rallies.

Since Election Day last week, Trump has not mentioned the caravan.