Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took aim at Hillary Clinton's latest comments on immigration, saying her “full embrace of amnesty is unfair.”
He’s one of the first Republicans to directly respond to Clinton, which is a difficult issue for many Republicans running for the presidential nomination - or considering a run. His willingness to draw attention to the issue by responding to Clinton indicates that he’s going to use the issue to separate himself from not only Clinton, the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination, but more immediately his Republican challengers.
On Tuesday, Clinton told a largely Latino audience in Las Vegas that she supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Walker tweeted his response Wednesday afternoon, signing his tweet with his initials, indicating that he personally wrote the tweet and not his staff.
Walker also took issue with Clinton’s embrace of President Barack Obama’s use of executive action that gives children and their parents who unlawfully came to the country reprieve from the threat of deportation.
“As president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further,” Clinton said in Las Vegas.
Walker tweeted that this is another instance where Clinton thinks she’s above the law.
The only other Republican to respond to Clinton’s remarks, which went further in her support of immigration than most were expecting, is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, who entered the presidential race Tuesday, said Clinton is "in ... support of amnesty."
While Walker was out front in challenging Clinton on the issue, he's also sending a signal to his fellow Republicans. The issue of immigration has been perilous for nearly every Republican in the presidential sphere as a large part of the base of the party is opposed to a path to citizenship – and sometimes legalization - for undocumented immigrants. Most Republicans have backed at least a path to legalization at some point in their political careers. But Walker, who has also backed a path to citizenship, has moved away from his previous position and shifted further to the right even questioning legal immigration.
Walker is drawing a sharp contrast to two of his rivals – Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush – both of whom have taken leading roles on the issue in the past and has damaged their support among conservatives.
Bush has backed a pathway to citizenship and wrote a book about the importance of immigration. He now says he’s open to a path to legalization but is largely supportive of immigration reform.
Rubio, meanwhile, is trying to distance himself from his leading role passing comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate in 2013, saying that the border must be secure before legal and illegal immigration can be addressed – a widespread talking point most Republicans have adopted.