Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said Thursday he would be willing to work with President Donald Trump on border security measures "when his ideas aren't stupid" after the White House challenged him to "stop blaming the president" instead of addressing immigration issues.
The Arizona lawmaker criticized the president's plan to deploy National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border with Mexico in an effort to curb illegal immigration earlier this week, casting it as too costly for taxpayers. After a White House spokesperson spoke out against his remarks, Gallego fired back during an interview on CNN.
“I will gladly work with the president when his ideas aren’t stupid and detrimental to the United States," Gallego said Thursday. "Unfortunately this is what this plan is."
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced Wednesday that Trump directed the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to dispatch troops to the U.S border with Mexico, a measure he expressed interest in carrying out earlier this week.
Nielsen did not specify how many troops would be deployed or how much the action will cost, but said officials will look to deploy troops "immediately."
While Republican officials praised the president's initiative, Democratic lawmakers scrutinized the measure, with Gallego calling it a "waste" of funds on social media.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders rebuked the assertion, criticizing Gallego and other lawmakers for not addressing the issue at the legislative level.
“If that congressman’s so concerned, maybe he ought to show up and actually support legislation that would fix these problems instead of blaming the president that’s actually doing something about it,” she told reporters at Wednesday's briefing.