Arkansas governor: 'Bad precedent' to send privately funded guardsmen to border

Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonThe Memo: DeSantis-Biden sniping underscores COVID-19 frustration Arkansas governor says he regrets signing ban on mask mandates Arkansas reports biggest one-day spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations MORE (R) said Sunday that sending a state's National Guard to the U.S-Mexico border using money from a private donor sets a “bad precedent.” 

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Dana BashDana BashKey Biden ally OK with dropping transit from infrastructure package Klobuchar: If Breyer is going to retire from Supreme Court, it should be sooner rather than later Sunday shows - Surgeon general in the spotlight as delta variant spreads MORE cited South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemNoem to attend Sturgis charity ride amid COVID-19 spike America's pandemic of COVID hypocrisy South Dakota Gov. Noem says she doesn't plan to increase vaccine messaging MORE’s (R) use of funding from Tennessee billionaire Willis Johnson to send an initial deployment of as many as 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern border to respond to a record surge in migrants.

Other governors have paid for the deployment through taxpayer funding. 

"Would you use a political donation to send your troops to the border?" Bash asked Hutchinson. 

The GOP governor, who announced this week that he would send his state’s National Guard troops to the border, replied, “Not for this purpose,” adding that deploying the National Guard is a “state function.” 

“I would consider that a bad precedent to have that privately funded,” he said. 

While Hutchinson noted that governors may use “private foundation money” for things such as “supplemental pay for some state employees,” he added that the National Guard is paid for by “the usual state budget.” 

Johnson said he sent the money to South Dakota through his family’s foundation and told The New York Times this week that he wanted to aid in security efforts at the southern border to respond to “illegals coming in.” 

“South Dakota is a small state,” he told the news outlet. “They want to help America, I want to help them.”

Johnson, as well as a spokesperson for Noem, declined to comment on the total cost of deployment covered by the donation. 

Noem and Hutchinson have joined other GOP governors who have committed to sending National Guard troops and state law enforcement officials to assist Customs and Border Protection agents at the southern border. The state leaders argue that the Biden administration is not doing enough to respond to a recent surge in asylum-seekers crossing into the U.S., mostly from Central America. 

Noem, a potential 2024 presidential contender, said in a statement Tuesday announcing her troop deployment, “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide.” 

“We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President BidenJoe BidenBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland 10 dead after overloaded van crashes in south Texas Majority of New York state Assembly support beginning process to impeach Cuomo: AP MORE’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve,” she added.