GOP Senate candidate in crucial state rips Schumer's immigration push after border trip: 'Height of cynicism'

Pennsylvania may be 1,600 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, but the GOP candidate aiming to flip the crucial Northeast battleground state’s Democratic-held Senate seat from blue to red this fall is spotlighting the combustible issues of border security and immigration.

Republican Dave McCormick claims that a new move by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the chamber, to vote this week on a standalone border policy bill is “the height of cynicism.”

McCormick is challenging longtime Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in a high-profile and expensive Senate showdown that is one of a handful across the country that will likely decide whether the GOP wins back the Senate majority.

The GOP Senate nominee, a West Point graduate, Gulf War combat veteran, and former hedge fund executive and Treasury Department official in George W. Bush’s administration, spent the weekend touring the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.


McCormick, in an interview Monday morning on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” took aim at President Biden, charging that the situation at the southern border is “a leadership failure that you just can’t believe.”

“I’m on the border at 2 a.m. and about 50 illegal migrants walk across the border. In that group that I saw there’s five or six military-aged men from Syria and there’s a handful of Chinese nationals, just when I was there at 2 in the morning,” McCormick recollected. 

McCormick argued that it’s “a killer on two levels… the cartels are not just in the drug business, they’re in the human trafficking business.”


Illegal immigration and border security have long been top of mind for Republican voters, and GOP leaders for over three years have heavily criticized Biden and his administration over the surge in migrant crossings, as well as the smuggling of deadly fentanyl, across the border. The president’s approval rating on handling the border and immigration remains deeply underwater. 

The issue is front and center not only in the rematch between Biden and former President Trump, but it’s also in the spotlight in this year’s battle for the Senate majority.

McCormick returned to Pennsylvania from his trip to the border on Sunday, as Schumer in a letter to fellow senators wrote, “We are hopeful this bipartisan proposal will bring serious-minded Republicans back to the table to advance this bipartisan solution for our border.”

The bipartisan border security bill was negotiated by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz. The measure went down to defeat earlier this year when most Republicans withdrew their support at the urging of Trump, in an apparent move to prevent Biden from securing a victory on the key campaign issue.

The bill is not expected to pass this time around, with most Republicans, including Lankford, still opposed, as well as a handful of far-left Democrats. The vote appears to be an election-year move by Schumer to paint Republicans as putting campaign politics over policy and unwilling to solve the border crisis.

And House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said if the bill reaches his chamber, it would once again be “dead on arrival.”


McCormick argued that the move by Schumer is “the height of cynicism.”

And he claimed that “the bipartisan legislation that was put forward is in fact essentially giving resources to accelerate the processing of the asylum cases, not to secure the border. And so that’s why I oppose it.”

“Right now, Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey are working to accelerate the resettling of illegal immigrants into our communities, not to secure the border,” McCormick charged.

But Democrats counter that the Border Act would not only reform U.S. asylum laws – by making modifications to parole and asylum provisions – but also lead to the hiring of thousands of border agents.

McCormick, who has repeatedly highlighted border security and immigration as he runs a second straight time for the Senate, claimed, “If Joe Biden and Bob Casey really wanted to do something about the border, they would have done something years ago…. Democrats don’t want to deal with it until it becomes a political challenge, which is where we are now.”

Casey has been a leading voice among Senate Democrats in recent months in urging more action from the White House to deal with the immigration and fentanyl crisis at the southern border.

“In order to meaningfully address the fentanyl crisis, law enforcement officers at our Nation’s borders must be equipped to combat the flow of fentanyl and other illicit drugs,” Casey and 16 of his Senate colleagues wrote earlier this year in a letter to Biden. “We must also support the law enforcement agencies that are investigating these smuggling and trafficking crimes and working to disrupt the transnational criminal networks that threaten our country and our communities.”

But the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, pointing to Casey’s voting record in the Senate, has argued that he pushed certain immigration fixes during election years and voted against them in off years – a characterization Casey’s office disputes. 

In a statement earlier this year to Fox News Digital, Maddy McDaniel, communications director for Bob Casey for Senate, said, “Casey has a long record of working to strengthen border security and passing bipartisan legislation to combat fentanyl smuggling across the border.”

McDaniel also charged that “McCormick refused to support a bipartisan bill that was called the ‘toughest border and immigration law in modern history,’ was supported by border patrol and would have cracked down on fentanyl trafficking – that’s why Pennsylvanians know McCormick can’t be trusted.”

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report

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