NEW YORK – Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris refuted two of her potential 2020 presidential primary challengers on Wednesday when she stated that she does not agree with their acceptance of open borders.
“No, I believe that we need border security,” Harris told “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah when asked how she felt about former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s call to remove the already standing wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We need smart border security. We can’t have open borders, we need to have border security, all nations do,” she continued. “All nations define their borders, but we should not have a policy and perspective that is grounded in keeping people out for the sake of this nationalistic kind of thing this president is trying to push.”
O’Rourke has long argued against a border wall, despite still claiming to be against open borders. Following President Donald Trump’s executive order in September to erect an 18-foot steel bollard wall to replace the existing pedestrian fencing in El Paso, Texas, the Democrat called the existing chain-link fence “bad enough.”
The failed senatorial candidate later revealed to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that if he could snap his fingers and make his home town of El Paso’s border wall disappear, he “absolutely” would. O’Rourke insisted in the past that the way to improve border safety and security is to “ensure that we are maximizing the potential from everyone … [and] treating each other with respect and dignity” and referred to Trump’s wall as an “expression of our smallness, our meanness, our fear to the rest of the world.”
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Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, signaled her support for tearing down the existing barrier on the border when she was confronted with O’Rourke’s position.
“Well, I’d have to ask folks in that part of the of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” Gillibrand replied in February when asked about O’Rourke’s comments. “But, you know, Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security.”
“And [the wall] is a hateful message. I mean [Trump’s] trying to create a picture of division and hate and derision. And that’s what I’m so offended by — the fact that he’s fused this kind of racism in, in his words and actions is just troubling,” she continued. “So, I could look at it and see which part he means and why and if it makes sense I could support it.”
Neither Gillibrand nor O’Rourke have officially entered the 2020 presidential race.