Republicans blame Biden administration for stopping drugs from entering the US
The Biden administration is seizing illegal drugs at the U.S. border, and GOP lawmakers think that’s a bad thing.
GOP lawmakers over the past few weeks have sent a spate of tweets hammering the Biden administration over government seizures of illegal drugs at the U.S. border, suggesting that it’s a bad thing that Customs and Border Patrol is keeping the drugs out of the country.
“Welcome 2 Pres Biden’s America where 10,000 pounds of fentanyl hv been seized by Customs & Border patrol so far this fiscal yr which is enough to kill over 2 billion ppl or more than 1/4 of the world’s population,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tweeted on Monday.
Complaints that President Joe Biden was stopping drugs from coming into the country at the border popped up over the summer, when Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Brian Babin of Texas were among those attacking the president and other Democratic leaders over the seizures.
But in recent weeks the talking point has been repeated more often.
The American Independent Foundation found in a review of Twitter posts that GOP lawmakers have been sending tweets on the subject for weeks, part of Republicans’ focus on making the border an issue in upcoming elections both this year and in 2022.
It’s unclear how publicizing that the Biden administration is keeping more illegal drugs out of the country than former President Donald Trump’s did is supposed to hurt Biden and members of the Democratic Party.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) tweeted in September, “This year, @CBP has seized more fentanyl than the last three years combined. Cartels are taking advantage of Biden’s failure at the border — and all Americans are paying the price.”
Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) tweeted on Oct. 25, “CBP has seized enough fentanyl at the border to kill 2.5 billion people (7X the population of the United States). Wake up.”
Of course, if the drugs hadn’t been seized by Customs and Border Patrol, they’d be flowing into the United States. And that has left both the White House and some Democratic lawmakers puzzled about why this has become a GOP talking point.
“Wait, Republicans are now attacking us for stopping fentanyl trafficking?” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates tweeted.
“Confused by this… but I guess thank you Senator @ChuckGrassley for recognizing Joe Biden’s work to keep fentanyl out of America??” tweeted Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).
“Did you think he should let it be smuggled in?” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted at Grassley.
The GOP has been trying to make the United States’ borders a winning political issue for years.
In elections in 2017 and 2018, Republicans tried to gin up fears over a migrant caravan headed to the United States to motivate their voters to the polls. The racist and xenophobic message didn’t work, as Democrats ended up winning big in the 2017 races and wresting control of the House from Republicans in 2018.
Now, ahead of the 2022 midterms, Republicans are once again employing that strategy.
How the Biden administration’s seizure of more illegal drugs is seen as a winning issue for Republicans isn’t clear.
The administration has itself been publicizing its success in seizing synthetic opioids and keeping them off the streets.
“During the past eight weeks, DEA has targeted the criminal drug networks flooding the U.S. with deadly, fentanyl-laced fake pills,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram said in a Sept. 30 news release. “DEA remains steadfast in its commitment reduce drug-related violence and overdose deaths by dismantling the violent, criminal drug distribution networks across the United States.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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