- Gov. Hutchinson said that sending troops to the border using private funds sets “a bad precedent.”
- “This is a state function,” he told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
- Gov. Noem received a donation to be used to aid in efforts at the US-Mexico border.
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GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas on Sunday said that deploying a state’s National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border using private funds sets “a bad precedent.”
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Dana Bash asked Hutchinson about fellow Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s decision to use a donation from Tennessee billionaire Willis Johnson to send 50 South Dakota National Guard members to the border.
Last week, Hutchinson announced hat he would deploy National Guard troops from Arkansas to the border, the latest salvo in a national GOP-push to highlight the surge in attempted migrant border crossings in recent months.
However, Hutchinson is not using private funding and chided Noem for doing so.
“Would you use a political donation to send your troops to the border?” Bash asked.
“Not for this purpose,” Hutchinson replied. “This is a state function. It is something that we respond to other states in terms of disaster.”
He added: “I would consider it a bad precedent to have it privately funded. Now, whenever you are looking at supplemental pay for some state employees, we use private foundation money, so it is not an across-the-board rule against that.”
—Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 4, 2021
Johnson directed the funding to South Dakota through his family’s foundation and told The New York Times last week that he wanted to aid security efforts at the border.
“You’ve got illegals coming in and I just think they ought to follow the rules of America,” he told the newspaper. “South Dakota is a small state. They want to help America, I want to help them.”
Noem, a former congresswoman who is seen as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, said that the $1 million donation from Johnson came as “a surprise.”
In sending the troops to the border, the governor continues to raise her national profile among conservative voters.
“The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide,” she said last week. “We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President [Joe] Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve.”
Last month, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, another possible 2024 presidential aspirant, deployed state law enforcement officers to the border.