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NEW: Tom Kean Goes “Full MAGA” On Border Security Deal​

“Here was Kean […] supporting the agenda of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the chief MAGA flamethrower.”

So-called “moderate” Tom Kean Jr. bent the knee to Donald Trump and MAGA House Republicans once again this week, showing that he is “unwilling to take any step on immigration unless Trump says so.”

According to a new op-ed in, in the “kind of environment that freshman Kean vowed to resist,” there he was “spouting MAGA talking points.” What happened to moderate Tom Kean Jr.? On immigration deal, he went full MAGA
Charles Stile | February 8, 2024

  • It was only a few short years ago that Tom Kean Jr., a Republican candidate for Congress, hit the airwaves striding through a supermarket in a plaid shirt, promising to bring a sober style of bipartisan governance to Washington.

  • But after a grand day of dysfunction in Washington on Tuesday, Kean-the-moderate-voice was spouting MAGA talking points as he defended his vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to halt the historic flow of immigrants across the U.S. border with Mexico.

  • The measure went down in defeat after three Republicans came to their senses and voted against it. Yet Kean, who earned a reputation in his long tenure in Trenton as a quiet deal maker — so respected that the dominant Democrats carved out a redder district where he could run in 2022 — toed a party line on impeachment laid down by the GOP’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and other extremists.

  • Like his colleagues in the rest of the Republican caucus, Kean failed to offer a shred of evidence that Mayorkas committed any high crimes or misdemeanors — the standard test for removing a federal official from office.

  • Still, Kean and the rest of the caucus went ahead, despite warnings from a bipartisan group of former Homeland Security secretaries that the “policy differences” with Mayorkas didn’t rise to “constitutionally impeachable offenses,” and despite warnings from Alan Dershowitz, the Trump-orbit lawyer and facilitator of Trump pardons, that the House lacked the evidence to take such a drastic step.

  • All in all, the results Tuesday reinforced the image of the GOP as a party that knows how to protest, to fume and to fundraise off that fuming — but is incapable of governing. It’s just the kind of environment that the freshman Kean vowed to resist with reason and compromise.

  • But here was Kean, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, supporting the agenda of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the chief MAGA flamethrower.

  • Kean’s office did not respond to messages seeking comment on his decision. But in some ways, his vote is not hard to understand.

  • For one thing, Kean has never entirely run from the MAGA wing of the party, despite facing two fierce and well-funded contests with Democrat Tom Malinowski, who held the 7th District seat for two terms before losing in 2022.

  • During the Republican primary that year, Kean ran as a supporter of the “Trump agenda.” He also cast himself a no-nonsense conservative on immigration, appearing at the southern border in dark sunglasses. It was part of his primary branding as “pro-cop, pro-border-security, inflation-fighting conservative.”

  • But as of Tuesday, Kean cast his vote with a Republican Party that failed to solve any problem and certainly is unwilling to take any step on immigration unless Trump says so. And the GOP in Washington remains in the clutches of radicals who have no interest in the art of bipartisan compromise that Kean championed


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