Just when it seemed Republicans might stop complaining about drug seizures at the U.S./Mexico border, a GOP congresswoman offered up a classic of the genre. Talking Points Memo noted an unintentional gem:
Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) was positively outraged on Sunday to hear about recent drug busts at the southern border, which is, as she claimed, somehow hard evidence that President Joe Biden’s administration is encouraging biological warfare on the U.S.
The problem apparently started when the Illinois lawmaker saw this report on Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona seizing tens of thousands of fentanyl pills from would-be smugglers. It was the sort of development that most Americans — other than drug dealers — would consider good news.
Miller nevertheless wrote on Twitter, “This is a terrorist chemical attack on our country and the Biden [administration] is encouraging it by keeping our border open. This is what an America Last agenda looks like, Biden is letting drugs flow into our country to kill our people.
For now, let’s put aside the fact that drug smuggling and terrorist chemical attacks are not exactly the same thing. Let’s instead consider the logic of Miller’s pitch.
President Joe Biden, the Republican congresswoman would have us believe, is “letting drugs flow” into the United States. As proof, she pointed to an example of the Biden administration stopping drugs from flowing into the United States.
Miller also insisted that the White House is “keeping our border open,” and to bolster the point, she referred us to a story in which drug smugglers were stopped at the border.
In other words, Miller isn’t waiting for folks like me to debunk her talking points, she’s streamlining the process by debunking her own claims as she makes them.
If her name sounds at all familiar, this is the same GOP lawmaker who last month thanked Donald Trump for delivering a “victory for white life,” though Miller said soon after that she misspoke.
As for the bigger picture, circling back to our earlier coverage, this line of criticism is weird, but it’s not new. Republicans have spent much of the last year complaining bitterly about Biden administration officials seizing illicit drugs before they entered the United States, which they see as proof of ... something.
As we’ve discussed, criminals have tried to smuggle illegal drugs into the country for many years. It’s happened during Republican administrations; it’s happened during Democratic administrations. Criminals have focused their efforts on the southern border, the northern border, ports, and even airports. The United States’ system of defense is far from perfect, but a dedicated group of professionals do their best to stop the shipments before they reach American streets — and lately, they’ve had several important successes.
That is, of course, what most Americans — again, excluding drug dealers — want.
And yet, Republicans routinely complain in the wake of border seizures, which isn’t just strange, it also contradicts the party’s previous line. In early 2019, for example, when border officials seized a massive shipment of methamphetamine at a Texas port of entry, Sen. Ted Cruz celebrated the developments. For the Republican, this wasn’t proof of a “Trump border crisis,” it was instead simply evidence of the “great work” being done by Americans. Under Biden, Cruz is saying the opposite.
He’s not alone. Two years ago, the Republican National Committee pointed to drug seizures as proof that Donald Trump and his policies were helping “protect our nation.” Now, the RNC is trying to convince Americans that more recent drug seizures are evidence of “Biden’s open border.”
How do Republicans explain the obvious contradiction? By ignoring it — and hoping voters don’t notice.
If Republican officials want to argue that the shipments represent only a fraction of a larger whole, and that there are other shipments that border officials aren’t catching, they’re certainly welcome to make that case and present the evidence, to the extent that it’s available.
But that’s not what Republicans are saying. Instead, they keep complaining about U.S. successes, which should be a tough sell in an election year.