CNN’s Lemon Claims Trump’s Border Wall Was Waste of Time

Political News

On Tuesday’s CNN This Morning, co-host Don Lemon declared that President Donald Trump “wasted time” building a border wall as he discussed the border crisis with former Trump administration Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

As Esper began his analysis by neglecting to include the Joe Biden administration as a major part of the current problem, Lemon seemed to rejoice in his Republican guest not blaming President Biden. Here’s Lemon:

Well, listen, you didn’t place as much blame on the Biden administration as many people do, and you did say in your last answer that you believe that it was a shared — that this is a shared issue by both Democrats and Republicans and especially the Congress, so I think most people will agree with you.

After Lemon admitted that there needs to be reform to deal with the large number of migrants arriving, Esper made a point of including President Biden in his critique:

Yeah, well, let me be clear. I do blame the Biden administration. They’ve been neglecting this for two years now, and, as I said earlier, the numbers have only grown and grown. It’s an incentive for folks from Latin America to come into our country, and we cannot, you know, handle the load. We’ve seen cities are overwhelmed — cities on the border, cities in the Northeast — and so, yeah, I put the blame at their feet. They need to address this policy, and they need to —

Lemon then interrupted his guest to claim that President Trump “wasted time” with a wall:

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With all due respect, Mr. Esper, for years the Trump administration placed on — wasted time on the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico border. There could have been more meaningful immigration policy and discussions with the Trump administration as well.

The former Defense secretary went on to argue that a border wall helps improve security.

This episode of CNN This Morning was sponsored in part by Lincoln and Peloton. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN This Morning
December 20, 2022
7:33 a.m. Eastern

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: But the bigger issue is the failure of Congress to act to come up with modern immigration policy laws to deal with this — to deal with the Dreamers, to make sure we have a merit-based immigration system to secure the border, to finish putting border security up. So the bigger failure here is in Washington, and I think you’re hearing that from governors in states ranging from Texas to California, and of course lawmakers from both parties. The Biden administration needs to take this on and take it on in the coming Congress.

DON LEMON: Well, listen, you didn’t place as much blame on the Biden administration as many people do, and you did say in your last answer that you believe that it was a shared — that this is a shared issue by both Democrats and Republicans and especially the Congress, so I think most people will agree with you.

But, in this political realm, people like to place blame. The former administration spent a lot of time on, you know, the wall and what have you. So what do you think, in the final analysis, what will take care of what’s happening at the border? Because it is an issue. We still have to allow people a legal immigration process in this country, but we still cannot absorb as many people as expected to come over if this policy is lifted.

ESPER: Yeah, well, let me be clear. I do blame the Biden administration. They’ve been neglecting this for two years now, and, as I said earlier, the numbers have only grown and grown. It’s an incentive for folks from Latin America to come into our country, and we cannot, you know, handle the load. We’ve seen cities are overwhelmed — cities on the border, cities in the Northeast — and so, yeah, I put the blame at their feet. They need to address this policy, and they need to —

LEMON: With all due respect, Mr. Esper, for years the Trump administration placed on — wasted time on the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico border. There could have been more meaningful immigration policy and discussions with the Trump administration as well.

ESPER: I don’t disagree with you. Again, I think this has been a failure for decades with regard to immigration policy. I worked in the Senate when this came up in the early 2000s, so the issue between the White House and the administration is — goes back through many administrations. I disagree with you with regard to the Trump administration. I don’t think the border wall was a waste of time. Look, border security improves — is an important issue. It’s going to be an important factor in any type of immigration policy agreement going forward, so I supported border security. We need border security.

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