In response to this op-ed in the Johnson City Press asserting he’s been inconsistent in his rebuke of presidential overreach, Congressman Phil Roe decided to double down on his support of the national emergency and “the wall.“ In doing so, he backed his argument with highly misleading half-truths and flat-out lies.
First, he claimed that then-president Obama’s order changing the treatment of immigrants and current-president Trump’s order circumventing Congress’s spending authority were entirely different beasts. While technically correct, it seems he’s completely missed the how and why: Obama’s order was one designed to help people, and affected positive change without attempting to override congressional authority. Trump’s, on the other hand, was simply an act fostering division, hate, and the culture of fear we’ve seen expanding in today’s America. Even if it weren’t an unlawful abuse of his power, the reason for doing so is simply vile, and supporting it despite its illegality and immorality is simply wrong.
However, the deception goes beyond that, into outright lies when he starts discussing the transit of illegal drugs into America from Mexico. He claims that “drugs are crossing our borders in record amounts,” without any evidence to support that claim and despite all public evidence showing a clear downward trend in both illegal crossings and drug trafficking. It’s not just a mischaracterization of the facts, it’s a complete fabrication. The only record amount involved in any drug trafficking in recent history was a large fentanyl bust, which was stopped at a legal port of entry, where a barrier is already in place. A new wall would do nothing to deter any of the actual methods traffickers use to get drugs into our country: tunnels, smuggling through checkpoints, or sneaking them through legal ports of entry.
Now, one might think that after two whoppers in one article, he might be through. One would, in this case, be wrong. Congressman Roe went on to try and pull a third fast one, discussing the defeat of an amendment which would’ve reaffirmed the illegality of undocumented immigrants voting. For those of us who paid attention in our basic government class, this was an obvious non-starter, considering it’s already a legal requirement that one be a US citizen in order to register to vote in a federal election. The amendment he mentions was nothing but a red herring, designed to give liars a talking point to fall back on, and Roe is certainly milking it for all it’s worth here.
All that being said, Roe clearly feels he was misrepresented, so I want to give him an opportunity to clear the air in person. I’m issuing an open invitation to Congressman Roe: come to Tennessee’s first district, host a public forum at a time and place of your choosing, and justify your position in front of your constituents and your challenger. If you feel so strongly about allowing our president to stomp on the Constitution, surely you’re prepared to face the people who put you in office and justify that position.