Recent Op-Eds

Leadership Matters

By Sen. John Thune

January 28, 2022

I’ve always said that South Dakota’s priorities are my priorities. Unfortunately, the president can’t say the same thing. President Biden has been in office for a little more than one year – a year chock-full of Democrat-led crises. And at a time when families need it the most, the president has failed to step up and address these ongoing problems head-on. 

When the president took office last January, inflation was well within an acceptable range. And it might have stayed there had Democrats not aggressively pursued the passage of a massive multi-trillion-dollar government spending spree under the guise of COVID relief just weeks after Congress had already passed a substantial bill that actually responded to the needs of the pandemic.

But the ink was barely dry on this bipartisan response to the pandemic before Democrats saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation and ram through a hyper-partisan $1.9 trillion piece of legislation packed with unnecessary government spending and payoffs to Democrat interest groups. That unnecessary government spending, of course, had serious consequences. The sting of inflation has been compounded by the supply chain crisis, with consumers paying more for everything from food to gas to home appliances and more. 

At the same time, by weakening strong immigration policies, the president enabled a massive crisis at our southern border – a crisis that Democrats are apparently completely content to ignore. Illegal migration across our southern border picked up after the president took office, and it reached stratospheric levels over the course of 2021. The ongoing crisis shows no signs of stopping. 

In December 2021, Customs and Border Protection encountered 178,840 people attempting to cross our southern border illegally. That’s twice as many who tried to cross illegally in December 2020 and more than four times as many who attempted to cross in December 2019. Now, instead of addressing the real security and humanitarian crisis that this massive wave of illegal immigration represents, the president and his administration have doubled down, resisting court orders to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy and conducting migrant relocation flights in the dead of night. This must end.

The crises don’t stop there. There was also the president’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. His arbitrary, chaotic withdrawal was a low point for our country that put our brave troops in an impossible situation. Thirteen of our military men and women died in a terrorist attack during the evacuation of Kabul. We abandoned thousands of individuals who had worked with us in Afghanistan and whom we had promised to protect. The president also left behind weapons and technology and hundreds of American citizens, yielding to the Taliban before the evacuation was complete.

Meanwhile, the president who said he would “restore” our standing on the world stage left our friends and allies wondering if his word – America’s word – could be relied on again. Not only did the president’s disastrous withdrawal leave Afghanistan on its way to once again becoming a terrorist safe haven, his flailing domestic agenda preoccupied him from confronting Russia’s aggressive military build-up that now threatens Ukraine and is testing the resolve of the NATO alliance.

It’s time for President Biden to get serious about inflation, address our border and supply chain crises, and strengthen our country’s reputation on the world stage. Now more than ever, we need strong leaders who will move our country in the right direction. I am committed to holding the president accountable and doing everything in my power to help get our country back on the right track.