Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is campaigning against Sen. Luther Strange for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat in the Senate — and more specifically, against Republicans’ continued apathy towards President Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.
In a campaign ad released Monday, Brooks played a section of the now-infamous speech in which Trump claimed undocumented immigrants are “rapists” before intoning, “President Trump promised a wall to keep us safe and protect American jobs for American workers. But even some establishment Republicans are blocking the way.
“Elect me to the Senate and I’ll fight every spending bill that doesn’t fund that wall,” Brooks continued. “And if I have to filibuster on the Senate floor, I’ll even read the King James Bible until the wall is funded. And you know what? Washington could benefit from that.
“We’re going to build that wall or you’ll know the name of every Republican who surrenders to the Democrats to break my filibuster,” Brooks concluded. “I give you my word and I don’t give my word lightly.”
Brooks’ stance on undocumented immigrants is pretty simple. In 2011, he told WHNT News, “As your congressman on the House floor, I will do anything short of shooting them. Anything that is lawful, it needs to be done because illegal aliens need to quit taking jobs from American citizens.”
Republicans are wary to fund the wall for a number of reasons, one of which is its sky-high price tag (at least $21 billion to $70 billion, the latter estimated by Senate Democrats). The GOP is currently concerned with cutting most parts of the budget unrelated to the military.
Despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, Mexico has made clear it will not be paying for the construction of said wall.
But Trump’s toxic reputation and the unpleasant implications of the proposal have also turned off many of his fellow Republicans. The idea tends not to be popular among people actually living in border states, some of whom might be caught on the Mexican side. Moreover, since studies show immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans and contribute to the economy, it’s unclear if a wall would have a point even if it stopped undocumented immigration, which other research suggests it would not.
That has not deterred many on the right from continuing to defend the proposal, not least of whom is Trump himself, who has come up with increasingly bizarre ideas to keep the project alive, such as covering it in solar panels. Brooks’ hardline rhetoric on the issue may find some reception with Alabama Republicans, some of the most conservative in the country. A Quinnipiac poll from February showed 81% of GOP respondents supported the project.