The ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee has penned a letter criticizing President Donald Trump’s recent rhetoric surrounding a group of migrants currently traveling toward the US border through Mexico.
In the letter, dated November 1 and addressed to Trump, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island calls on the President to “demonstrate leadership and strength rather than fear and weakness” following the administration’s announcement earlier this week that 5,200 troops would be deployed to nation’s southern border.
“Your recent pronouncements regarding migrant caravans in southern Mexico mischaracterize the situation, are unlikely to achieve effective border security, and do not reflect the best attributes of our country,” Reed wrote.
In an effort to rile up voter enthusiasm, the President has dubbed next week’s midterm elections “an election of the caravan.”
“It’s going to be an election of the caravan,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Missoula, Montana, in October. “You know what I’m talking about.”
In his letter, Reed argued that it is “not a military problem,” and therefore “does not warrant a military solution.”
“Your decision to rush thousands of our troops to the border at this time seems politically motivated and fails to implement reasonable and appropriate steps to address the true nature of the problem,” Reed said.
On Thursday, Trump said he would sign an executive order “next week” aimed at restricting US asylum rules and he suggested US troops at the border could fire on someone in the migrant caravan if the person threw rocks or stones at them.
“I hope there won’t be that,” Trump said.
However, Trump went on to say that throwing stones at military personnel would be considered the use of a firearm, “because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”
This week, the Pentagon also released a statement that said, “The number of troops deployed will change each day as military forces flow into the operating area, but the initial estimate is that the DOD will have more than 7,000 troops supporting DHS across California, Arizona and Texas.”
Reed lists four steps for the President to take, which include sending “an appropriate team of diplomatic and Homeland Security Department officials to southern Mexico to inform the migrants that they will not be permitted to simply enter the United States.”
Additionally, Reed said Trump should “provide a full accounting of the financial costs of this deployment as well as the impacts it will have on any ongoing military missions.”
CNN’s Ryan Browne, Sarah Westwood, Kevin Liptak, Allie Malloy, Zachary Cohen and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.