House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is under fire for criticizing the five white men leading negotiations on DACA.
According to Politico.com, her Number 2 in the House – Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, himself involved in the talks on DACA – quickly rebuked her comments, calling them “offensive.”
“The five white guys I call them you, you know,” said Pelosi on Thursday, speaking at her weekly news conference. “Are they going to open a hamburger stand or what?”
The rather odd complaint – apparently a reference to the Five Guys fast food chain – was intended to criticize the lack of diversity in the DACA discussion. Although President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September primarily affects Hispanic immigrants, there are no minority politicians participating in talks on the program’s future.
Along with Hoyer, the DACA negotiation panel includes Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
The group held a meeting on immigration and DACA earlier in the week.
“That could’ve been done four months ago. The very idea that this week they’re saying, ‘Oh, why don’t we get four white guys and General Kelly to come and do this,’” she said, arguing that the dearth of minority representation will only stall successful negotiations.
As Politico.com and Pelosi point out, any repair work done on DACA will need to be approved by the Congressional Hispanic Caucasus and certain other advocacy coalitions.
But Pelosi’s controversial comments weren’t without rebuke.
“That comment is offensive,” said Rep. Hoyer, the second-highest ranking House Democrat. “I am committed to ensuring Dreamers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done.”
Hoyer’s remarks following speculation that the bipartisan group has drawn up a proposal, which would include several billion dollars in funds for border security and wall planning. However, the White House hasn’t yet signed off on the legislation – President Trump has, among other things, demanded close to $40 billion for an enhanced barrier along the Rio Grande.
The conflict between Democrats couldn’t come at a worse time – last week, a bipartisan group of senators announced they’d drawn up a framework which could have the potential to float up to the Oval Office.
“President Trump called on Congress to solve the DACA challenge,” wrote the senators in a joint statement. “We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act – the areas outlined by the President. We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress.”