That is the very serious charge made by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl at a town-hall meeting Friday. It’s a very serious charge because, as Kyl points out, securing the border is not an optional duty for the president of the United States.
Here’s the clip, with the relevant remarks beginning at the 3:17 mark:
And here’s a (very) partial transcript:
KYL: I met with the president in the Oval Office, just the two of us …. Here’s what the president said. The problem is, he said, if we secure the border, then you all [Republicans] won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform. (Audible gasps from audience.) In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They won’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.
As you can hear an audience member say in the background, “comprehensive immigration reform” in this case most likely means some form of amnesty.
As of this morning, the White House had not yet commented on Kyl’s statement. UPDATE: The White House now says the president didn’t make such a statement, and that “Senator Kyl knows it.” Now it’s Kyl’s turn: Will he back down or maintain his story? It seems unlikely to me that a senator with his experience would be dumb enough to invent such a statement out of thin air and attribute it directly to the president.
SECOND UPDATE: Reports FoxNews.com:
Kyl’s sticking by his account of the one-on-one meeting with Obama. Ryan Patmintra, Kyl’s spokesman, said this:
“There were two people in that meeting, and [White House Communications Director] Dan Pfeiffer was not one of them. Senator Kyl stands by his remarks, and the White House spokesman’s push-back that you must have comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border only confirms Senator Kyl’s account.”