Originally published by Politico
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake defended Democrats in the face of criticism from President Donald Trump, arguing Sunday they were negotiating in good faith on a bipartisan immigration deal.
“One thing I do take big issue with the president on is he is saying that the Democrats aren’t moving forward in good faith,” Flake said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I can tell you I’ve been negotiating and working with the Democrats on immigration for 17 years and on this issue, on DACA or on the DREAM Act for a number of years, and the Democrats are negotiating in good faith.”
Flake, an Arizona Republican and a frequent critic of Trump, is part of a bipartisan group of six senators who struck a deal last week to shield Dreamers, fund border security and make other changes to immigration laws.
“This is a bipartisan deal. It’s not the Democrats bringing this forward,” Flake said. “There are three Democrats, three Republicans, and we’re working now to add more Republicans to that list and we will have more this coming week.”
Trump rebuffed the deal, however, tweeting that the framework was “a big step backwards” and slamming Democrats for negotiating in bad faith on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Flake also noted, “We’ve got to get to 60 votes” in the Senate, noting the three-fifths majority needed to pass legislation that requires at least some Democratic support.
Asked whether lawmakers are further away from a deal than Thursday morning, before Trump’s comments questioning immigration from “shithole” countries during a meeting with lawmakers, Flake responded, “I’m not sure.”
“I think that when we get back into town, people will realize there’s only [one] deal in town, there’s only one bipartisan bill, and we need 60 votes, and that bill will be presented with even more Republicans and Democrats than we have right now,” Flake said.