John Cornyn, who once backed Trump using defense funds for border wall, now says he opposes it


  • Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
Facing a what may be the toughest reelection fight of his career, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is hedging his bets.

Cornyn — once one of Donald Trump's most steadfast defenders — this weekend told the told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board he privately disagreed with the president's diversion of billions in military funding to his border wall.

The senator's statement is an apparent about face from a public comment he made about the plan in February.

"I believe border security is part of national security. So I support the efforts to accomplish that secure border," Cornyn said on February 20 when asked about the White House effort to divert $3.8 billion from the Pentagon for wall funding, the Dallas Morning News reports. "The president's left with a bad hand and has to play the best hand he can."

During the meeting with the Star-Telegram, Cornyn said he's also had differences with Trump on trade agreements and budget matters. Citing damage to other lawmakers who chose to quarrel with the president in public, Cornyn said he's chosen to raise those concerns in private meetings.

Further, he said his relationship with Trump was “maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well.”

The backpedaling comes as a number of once solid Republican seats appear to be within striking distance of Democrats and as GOP strategists fret Trump's unpopularity will mean November bloodbath for their side of the ballot.

Indeed, Cornyn's opponent, former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, is within single digits of him in recent polls and outraised the incumbent during the third quarter. Earlier this month, a Democratic super PAC dropped $8.6 million on TV ads on her behalf.

On Twitter, Hegar said Cornyn's new claim that he opposed the use of military funding for Trump's wall is a sign he's either "a coward — or he's a liar."

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio joined the Twitter dog pile, pointing out that Cornyn voted against a bipartisan measure that would halt Trump from diverting Pentagon funds to the wall.

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