Border crisis is Trump's 'manufactured chaos that he's created': Top Dem

Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is interviewed on "This Week."
6:22 | 04/14/19

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Transcript for Border crisis is Trump's 'manufactured chaos that he's created': Top Dem
Chairman Thompson, thank you for joining us now. I want to get to imbrags, but let's begin where we just left off. Democrats should be condemning the remarks of congresswoman OMAR. I saw the speech she gave, I saw nothing wrong with it. I saw the president's manufactured tweet where he put pieces in there, but, George, we are a nation of laws, a democracy, free speech is here. And again, I saw nothing wrong with the congresswoman's speech. You say you saw nothing wrong with it. But she characterized the deadliest terror attack on U.S. Soil a coldblooded mass murder that some people did something, that seems to down play 9/11. No question about it. We had over 3,000 people who got killed at that event. Nothing to downplay on it. But, again, she spoke to it. I think the president is just seizing that moment, manufacturing what he said and then moving forward with a traditional speech. So, I think there are other issues we have to deal with in this country. Right. Just to be clear on that, you agree characterizing it as some people did something is not the way to characterize 9/11? No question about it. But, again, if I look at what the president says on a daily basis, we could criticize him almost by the hour. So, for him to take the congresswoman on is just another one of his, what I think, real simplistic attacks. Let's move on to this proposal that the president is perhaps thinking about moving migrants to sanctuary cities. Do you see any way to do that legally? No, I don't. More importantly, this is his manufactured chaos that he's created over the last two years at the border. Meet in Mexico. The zero tolerance put in by the attorney general. All those things have just created this crisis. Before Donald Trump took office, we had a situation that was manageable. We had spikes, but it also went down. But what we have now is a constant pushing of the system, so that it doesn't work. This notion that you take foreign aid away from the northern triangle countries, clearly that was an investment that had proven to work. So, now, you take that investment away, and obviously those people in those countries have to leave because of the crime and other things that's occurring. So, the president has to step up and provide real leadership which he has failed to do on immigration. He says he needs Democrats as partners. The numbers are really climbing, more than 100,000 apprehensions last week. Almost a million asylum cases right now. What can be done to get this under control? Well, first of all, everybody talks about Democrats, Republicans getting together. We are absolutely, as Democrats, ready to sit down and talk. But we won't be lectured to by the president. Let's sit down and talk. I chair the homeland security committee, I'm prepared to sit with the white house. If we can get somebody in if we can get somebody in the leadership at dhs so that we can sit and talk. Right now, we have eight senior vacancies at the department, so we're kind of in a ruggedless situation. We're supposed to meet the secretary on may 1 at the committee. We're not certain now with the acting person whether we'll be able to do that. Individuals tasked with the administraton's responsibility, they're not soundly in place for this occur. We're seeing this series of reports coming out of homeland security, they've been pushed by the white house, by the president, by white house staffers, including, according to some reports, by Stephen Miller to put in place policies that bend the law if not break the law, are you developing information that backs up those contentions? We don't see Stephen Miller as an expert. He's a young man who has some novel ideas that most Democrats disagree with. But the point that I'd like to make, George, is Democrats are prepared to address this situation. Every financial resource that has been brought forward Democrats have supported it. We supported adding more men and women to the border patrol. We have made sure technology was available. But the challenge is, when you interpret existing law or when a judge rules against you, the president talks about how bad the judge is, as a nation of laws, co-equal branches of government, the judiciary has a role. So, if the president would like to work this on, aisle saying this on your show this morning, we're absolutely ready as Democrats but he can't decide I'm not going to talk to speaker Pelosi or chairman Nadler or Bennie Thompson, I'm going to go talk to somebody else. That's not how it plays. Democrats elected us as leaders. We're the ones that are expected to go forward with this. Final question, do you believe his upholding his oath to faithfully execute the rules of law of the United States? I think it's real challenge at this point. When I've seen him talk about women, when I've seen him do a number of things that belittle the office of the presidency, I'm real concerned. I have a grandson. I almost have to send him out the room when the president comes on TV because I don't know what's going to come out of his mouth. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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