Doug Jones: ‘I am not going to give wall money just to give wall money’
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) asserted that reopening the government is more important to the people of Alabama than border security.
In what was called echoing the Democratic “party line,” Jones, when asked by host Jake Tapper why he would not support President Donald Trump’s top priority given that the president won Alabama by a huge margin, said that the government being partially closed is the biggest problem right now for his constituents.
“Well, the problem is that the government is shut down,” Jones responded. “You know, our state wants the government to open, to be open for business. I think that’s the most important thing for the people of Alabama right now. We have a lot of government workers in this state. We also have a lot of contractors who depend on that government work.”
“A lot of people want border security for sure, but they also want the government services, and they want the government to operate. I do not believe that holding government workers and all those affected by government services hostage is the way to determine how best to secure our borders, which everyone wants,” he continued.
However, when asked by Tapper whether Democrats should compromise and approve some amount of money for increased border security, Jones refused to give a direct answer.
“It appears to be that the president wants to negotiate about reopening government, and Democrats want to talk about border security and trying to find common ground. And I think therein lies the problem. We do not believe that the government should be shut down and the people of this country held hostage just for a political purpose that the president has right now,” Jones opined.
Tapper then pressed Jones for a “yes or no” answer on whether he agreed with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stance that no money be given for Trump’s border wall package, yet Alabama’s junior senator again was unclear.
“I think that we have to talk about border security. We haven’t seen a plan to talk about border security,” Jones claimed.
“When I talk to people in Alabama, I hear that they want border security. It doesn’t matter what it is,” he added, before being interrupted by Tapper, who pushed back on the senator’s latest assertion.
“Well, it matters to the president, though,” Tapper said. “That’s the thing – we all agree on border security. Everyone agrees on border security. The question is: President Trump wants wall money, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say no wall money. I’m just trying to get an idea from you on whether or not you agree that wall money should be part of any compromise.”
Jones responded with a shake of the head, saying, “I, I’m not going to give wall money just to give wall money. What I would like to see is the plan about how that money is going to be spent, where it’s going to be spent. That’s what we have been lacking so far in this shutdown for the last three weeks. We’ve been talking about dollars and cents and not plans.”
Later in the interview, Jones complained about “political posturing” while claiming, “Democrats are open to anything that’s going to get the government open.”
On Thursday, Pelosi called the proposed wall “an immorality.”
She added, “We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt about that? We are not doing a wall. So that’s that. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with: The wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking [and] it isn’t cost-effective.”
Jones is up for reelection in 2020. His comments to CNN came days after the news broke that a previously deported illegal immigrant and convicted drug trafficker had been arrested in Shelby County for the rape of a juvenile girl. Jones, a former prosecutor, has yet to comment on the charges against Amancio Betancourt Martinez.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn