Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) may have unwittingly entered the boxing ring with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday morning, and he certainly didn’t leave without a few bruises.
The 10-minute New Day interview began with Camerota introducing a letter from 58 former national-security officials, who proclaimed “there is no factual basis” for a border wall with Mexico, and ended with the morning host declaring: “I’m telling you: You don’t declare a national emergency on what you don’t know.”
Ten days ago, President Trump declared a national emergency, and Duffy said that urgent wall funding is necessary to keep out those entering the country illegally, who he claims are responsible for people in Wisconsin “dying from meth” and heroin overdoses.
“They’re destroying families,” Duffy continued. “You look at the devastation of the people who are coming from Central America—little girls who are being raped, a third of women who are sexually assaulted on this journey. So, look I think it’s a national emergency. We have a difference of opinion.”
“My counties in rural Wisconsin, they run out of money because of all of the out of home placements for kids that don’t have parents now,” he added, apparently referring to the children of those who died of overdoses. “I am talking about the drugs.”
Camerota interrupted: “But [the drugs] come through the legal ports of entry. How is a national emergency to build a couple hundred miles of fence going to solve your drug problem in Wisconsin? Ninety percent, according to Customs and Border protections, come through legal ports of entry.”
She asked: “You think that the 10 percent of heroin that’s coming through the southern border—not through legal ports of entry—you think that’s going to cure your drug problem in Wisconsin?”
Duffy replied: “What I think, Alisyn, is if I can secure the lawful ports of entry and I can secure the other parts of the border—drugs come across the whole border—it takes more than $1.4 billion to secure the border. It’s not just the barrier—it’s more agents, it’s more technology.”
“If 17,000 criminals last year alone are coming into our country—that we caught, 17,000—I think that’s an emergency,” he added.
Camerota interjected: “Doesn’t that tell you that the system is working? They were caught! They were caught! The numbers that you use are those that have been arrested at the border. How is that a national emergency? How do you know how many you don’t catch? You don’t know if it’s two people. It’s the point that it’s working? People are trying to get in and they’re being stopped.”
Duffy stood his ground, asking: “The point is: Are you telling me that we have a secure border?”
Camerota replied: “I’m telling you: You don’t declare a national emergency on what you don’t know.”
“You do, you actually do!” Duffy concluded.