Gov. Scott Walker said over the weekend that it’s a “legitimate” idea to consider building a wall between the United States and Canada to deter terrorists.
In a 30-minute taped interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, Walker emphasized his desire to “secure” the country’s borders, focusing on the southern border with Mexico. But when pressed by Todd, Walker said extending that effort to the country’s 5,525-mile border with Canada is worth looking into.
“Why are we always talking about the southern border and a fence there? We don’t talk about a northern border — where, if this is about securing the border from potentially terrorists coming over,” Todd said, asking Walker if he would build a wall on the northern border, too.
“Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire,” Walker responded. “They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So, that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”
Walker and other GOP candidates seeking the 2016 presidential nomination have focused heavily on immigration — especially front-runner Donald Trump, who has called for a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico and said that Mexico should pay for it.
But secure borders also help fight terrorists, Walker told cadets at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday while laying out his foreign policy agenda. That element of his plan prompted Todd’s questions about the lack of campaign rhetoric about securing the country’s northern border.
In December 1999, a 34-year-old Algerian man living in Montreal, Quebec, who planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington, after a customs agent questioning him as he tried to enter the U.S. became suspicious.
In the interview, Walker also dismissed a recent Marquette University poll that showed 39 percent of Wisconsin residents approve of his job performance. Fellow 2016 GOP hopeful Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a job approval rating of 61 percent, Todd noted by way of comparison.
“You should want someone who doesn’t care about the next election — they care about the next generation. That’s the difference,” Walker said in response. “I went out and pushed big, bold reforms in my first term — I haven’t let up. I’m the kind of leader that’s going to go out and say, ‘I don’t care about the next election, I care what’s right for the next generation.’”
Walker also was asked about statistics showing life for black residents of Wisconsin is significantly different than it is for white residents. Wisconsin has the highest rate of incarceration for black males and ranks last in the country in quality of life for black children, while the unemployment rate for black residents of Wisconsin is double the national average.
“It’s a sad truth — it’s been true for decades,” said Walker, who was Milwaukee County executive before being elected governor in 2010.
Walker then touted the state’s school voucher program, saying it gave “African-American and Latino and other families the ability to get beyond some of the schools in those neighborhoods that weren’t living up to those standards.”
He said his landmark collective bargaining measure known as Act 10 could help address racial disparities in schools. .
Walker then told the story of Wauwatosa teacher Megan Sampson, who was laid off in 2010 by the Milwaukee School District after her first year of teaching, despite being an award-winning English teacher. Walker said Act 10 allowed school districts to get rid of seniority rules often found in union contracts.
Sampson has repeatedly objected to Walker’s use of her story while campaigning.