Sen. Lankford says a 'popular commentator' threatened to 'do whatever I can to destroy you' if he negotiated a border deal during a presidential election year

  • Sen. James Lankford was the top GOP negotiator on the failed border security deal.

  • He claims a "popular commentator" warned him not to solve the crisis during an election year.

  • "I will do whatever I can to destroy you," Lankford said.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma spoke on Wednesday about the political challenges he's encountered while serving as the top GOP negotiator on a bipartisan border security deal.

In a speech shortly before the expected failure of the deal, Lankford bemoaned the fact that some fellow Republicans were objecting to the bill for purely political reasons.

"Some of them have been very clear with me," Lankford said of his GOP colleagues, "they have political differences with the bill. They say it's the wrong time to solve the problem. We'll let the presidential election solve this problem."

Lankford went on to say that a "popular commentator" — without naming any names — threatened to "destroy" him if he negotiated the deal during a presidential election year, regardless of what was in it.

"I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election," Lankford recounted the commentator saying.

"By the way, they have been faithful to their promise, and have done everything they can to destroy me," he added.

Ahead of the release of the text of the deal — which was negotiated following GOP demands to attach border security provisions to a bill to provide billions in aid to Ukraine and Israel — right-wing media outlets like Fox News promoted false claims about the deal, claiming it would amount to "amnesty."

And some Republicans admitted that politics was a key factor for them.

"I cannot vote for this bill," said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the third-highest ranking GOP senator, in his statement on the deal. "Americans will turn to the upcoming election to end the border crisis."

Following the expected failed vote, the Senate is expected to take up a bill to send billions in aid to Ukraine and Israel, but without any border security provisions.

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