In response to President Donald Trump's plea for better border security — and yes, a border wall — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, standing alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), denounced Trump's proposals as "ineffective" and "unnecessary."
Unfortunately for Schumer, his words ring hollow. After all, before Trump became president, Schumer was a vocal advocate of border security, including a physical barrier.
What did Schumer say in response to Trump?
He accused Trump of throwing a "temper tantrum" for "having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill."
"American democracy doesn't work that way," Schumer added. "No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage."
"Tonight — and throughout this debate and his presidency — President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts; division, not unity," Schumer charged.
What did Schumer say before?
Despite being adamantly opposed to Trump's wall, Schumer's current position stands in direct opposition to the posture he took toward border security during the Obama years.
While speaking at Georgetown University in 2009, Schumer said a physical border barrier would make the border "far more secure by acting as a "significant barrier" against illegal immigration, which he characterized as "wrong, plain and simple."
"Any immigration solution must recognize that we must do as much as we can to gain operational control of our borders as soon as possible," Schumer said at the time.
Chuck Schumer tonight: Trump's border wall is “ineffective" and “unnecessary"
Chuck Schumer in 2009: "630 miles of border fence" made our southern border "far more secure" because it "created a significant barrier to illegal immigration" pic.twitter.com/3ywVpKu2LH
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 9, 2019
What have other Democrats said?
Democrats' unanimous and fierce opposition to a physical border barrier creates the allusion they have always opposed such a solution to illegal immigration. But that's not so. In fact, their opposition appears closely related to Trump's rise to political prominence, and eventually, the White House.
Indeed, other Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have historically supported immigration reform that includes securing the U.S.-Mexico border with a physical barrier.
Obama in 2005: "We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country."
Hillary Clinton in 2015: "I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders."