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Flake: Trump's attacks on Democrats 'bothersome,' unhelpful in immigration debate

Flake: Trump's attacks on Democrats 'bothersome,' unhelpful in immigration debate
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE’s constant attacks on Democrats’ immigration views undermine efforts to broker a deal for reform on the issue.

“Congress has to fix this. And what’s bothersome is the president’s rhetoric about the Democrats and their unwillingness to have any type of border security or control,” Flake said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Flake, an outspoken GOP critic of the president, noted that Democrats have in the past voted to support billions of dollars in funding for border security enhancements, such as the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill that ultimately failed to pass in the Senate.

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“They are on record supporting significant border control,” Flake said. “And so, when the president says that and calls them ‘clowns’ and ‘losers,’ how does he expect the Democrats to sit down and work with Republicans on these issues?" 

“Words matter, what the president says matters, and he ought to knock that off,” added Flake, who is retiring in January.

Trump has for months attacked Democrats, and Democratic leadership in particular, as “weak on borders.” 

Amid overwhelming bipartisan criticism of his administration’s practice of separating migrant families at the southern border, Trump claimed the issue was a result of Democratic policies. In reality, the practice stemmed from his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. 

Trump signed an executive order last week halting family separations. He has called on Congress to pass additional comprehensive immigration legislation.

On Sunday, Trump urged Democrats to “fix the laws,” adding “don’t RESIST.”