Knives are officially out for Republican lawmaker James Lankford. Donald Trump and his allies are waging a campaign to vilify the senator from Oklahoma for his role in crafting the border security and foreign aid bill that members from both parties have spent months deliberating. The negotiations, as of right now at least, appear to have been for naught. “I would anticipate Wednesday the cloture vote does not pass,” Lankford conceded Monday evening.
The bill would grant Republicans many of its long-held immigration demands—along with tens of billions of dollars in funding for border security and aid to Ukraine—but the former president, who maintains massive influence on the GOP, has privately pressured Republicans to oppose it, fearing that its passage might help Joe Biden win reelection. Meanwhile, in public, Trump has framed his opposition as policy-oriented, while at the same time working to turn Lankford into a toxic quantity.
First elected in 2014 and having won reelection in 2022, Lankford’s seat in Congress is safe for now. Still, Trump has not ruled out the prospect of backing a primary challenge to Lankford should he attempt to retain his seat in 2028. “I think this is a very bad bill for [Lankford’s] career, especially in Oklahoma,” Trump said during a Monday interview with conservative talk show host Dan Bongino. “Nobody’s going to be happy about this [immigration deal], but the people in Oklahoma are, these are serious MAGA, these are serious people. They are not going to be happy.… This is lunacy, this bill.”
In the same interview, Trump sought to erase his prior support for Lankford, falsely saying, “Just to correct the record, I did not endorse Senator Lankford. I didn’t do it. He ran, and I did not endorse him.” In fact, Trump offered his “complete and total endorsement” two years ago during Lankford’s general election campaign—a gesture perhaps more symbolic than beneficial in glaringly red Oklahoma. At the time, Trump even described Lankford as “strong on the border” and “strongly committed to America First, and everything it stood for, and likewise strongly committed to me.”
Some Trumpworld media personalities have suggested that Lankford should face congressional censure a..