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Collin Peterson explains his ‘Give Trump the money’ remarks: ‘I’m probably the only one left that has the guts to say what I said’

Rep. Collin Peterson
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Rep. Collin Peterson: “What I said was, I would support the wall if there were strings attached.”

Minnesota’s most conservative Democratic congressman sparked a firestorm on Tuesday with just a few words during a talk radio appearance: “Give Trump the money.”

That was the judgment of Rep. Collin Peterson, of the 7th Congressional District, on what Democrats should do to resolve the current impasse in Washington over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall with Mexico — which sparked the ongoing government shutdown, now by far the longest closure in U.S. history.

“I’d give him the whole thing,” Peterson told KFGO’s Joel Heitkamp, “and put strings on it so you make sure he puts the wall where it needs to be. Why are we fighting over this? We’re going to build that wall anyway, at some time.”

Thirty-two days into the shutdown, Peterson had seemingly done what no other Democrat in Congress had yet dared to do: accede to Trump’s wall demand, and go against Democratic leaders’ insistence that the wall, an “immorality,” would receive not a dime of taxpayer money.

The congressman’s quotes spread fast, enraging Democrats who howled over what they saw as Peterson’s capitulation to Trump’s demands, and delighting Republicans, who held up his remarks as evidence that Democrats were crumbling and that their anti-wall stance was a political loser. The media quickly picked it up, with outlets from the Washington Post to Roll Call — which asked readers to “meet the Democrat who wants to give Trump money for the wall” — running with the news.

The problem with those headlines and all the outrage, according to Peterson, is that he can’t imagine a realistic scenario in which he’d want to give Trump money for the wall. In an interview with MinnPost on Wednesday, Peterson accused the press of misinterpreting his remarks and lambasted both Trump and Democrats for backing into their corners of the wall fight and acting uninterested in real compromise.

“Anybody that sticks their head up gets it shot off,” Peterson told MinnPost. “The furor caused yesterday — people didn’t look at what I said, and this is the problem. The press has allowed it to become polarized.”

Strings attached

Peterson clarified what he meant about giving Trump the money: “What I said was, I would support the wall if there were strings attached.” He mentioned a few conditions that would need to be present for him to support any wall: prohibiting the government from using eminent domain to secure private land on which to build the wall, ensuring that environmental rules are followed in its construction, and requiring the Border Patrol and border state governors to sign off on plans before any construction occurs.

The congressman also mentioned that federal officials who process migrants at ports of entry need more resources. “I’m not against the wall if it’s done appropriately and done in relation to everything else we need to do,” he said. “There are places where the wall has not been built, where it could be built, and probably should be built. But we have to have a process to make sure it gets done correctly.”

To that end, Peterson said he’d only support the wall if it makes sense — and he made clear he believes it’s unlikely that it ever would. “You think if we put the strings on, the wall would ever get built?” he asked, with a laugh. “Let’s talk about the reality there.”

Backed into corners

Peterson, who represents a district that voted for Trump by 32 points in 2016, bristled at the suggestion he was trying to ally himself with Trump. Since making his initial comments on Tuesday, Peterson says he has not heard from the White House, and said he has “not gotten the indication” that the president is serious about listening to Democrats like him.

He mentioned the meeting with Trump that some centrist members of the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus,” including freshman Rep. Dean Phillips of the 3rd District, attended last week. That the president met with a group of freshman and sophomore rank-and-file members suggested to Peterson, a 15-term congressman who now chairs the House Agriculture Committee, that Trump isn’t serious about a substantive negotiation with Democrats. (Peterson said he does not know if he would talk with Trump if invited, and said he’d want to put “conditions on it” before he did.)

Though Peterson is generally considered loyal to Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he has a reputation for voting often with Republicans and occasionally being a thorn in his party’s side. He expressed frustration with his camp’s tack in the shutdown: “The Democrats, because of the positions they’ve taken, have been neutralized completely — no wall, it’s immoral,” he said.

“There are not enough people in either party to make the leadership worried about what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re in charge. They’re backed into their corners, and I don’t know how you get them out.”

Political winds

Some observers read into Peterson’s willingness to entertain the wall and sensed some anxiety about his standing back home. Election after election, he won by large margins even as CD7, which covers much of western Minnesota, turned redder. But in 2016 and 2018, he won by no more than five points over David Hughes, a political novice who never got much funding and backing from D.C. Republicans. In 2020, Peterson could be higher on the GOP’s House target list than he has been in years.

Peterson says he just wants to find a way out of the shutdown that is causing a lot of hurt in his district, a major farm region where the U.S. Department of Agriculture, now shuttered, plays a role in everyday life.

Late Tuesday, Peterson circulated a letter with Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, calling on Trump and congressional leaders to reopen the government and then pass legislation on the border, which could include money for “expanded physical barriers where appropriate.”

Peterson said that the duo is struggling to get other lawmakers to sign on. “In the old days, the Blue Dogs would have been all over this,” he said, referring to the two-decade old coalition of conservative Democrats, of which Peterson is a member.

“I’m probably the only one left that has the guts to say what I said. It’s ridiculous,” Peterson said. “People say, [the wall] is a waste of money. Maybe it is… We’ve wasted money on stupider things than this. Maybe it isn’t going to do much good, it’s probably not going to do much harm. Why are we getting wrapped all around the axle on this?”

Comments (88)

  1. Submitted by Bernie Hesse on 01/23/2019 - 11:11 am.

    Sad comments from our leader in the 7th. Always pragmatic I guess, but on this point he is simply wrong. If he truly cared about the folks who live and work in his district he would support no wall and immigration reform. He must think all the processing jobs, nursing home jobs, and agricultural jobs are being filled by the native born. Colin- the world has changed and we must find a path for immigrants to arrive, be safe, contribute and have dignity.

    • Submitted by Katherine Cram on 01/23/2019 - 11:31 am.

      Capitulating to irrational demands of those suffering from instability or mental illness is known as enabling. That’s what “Give Trump the Money” does.

    • Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/23/2019 - 11:55 am.

      Colin just knows who his bosses are. They are the D7 farmers whose subsidy checks must be getting held up due to the shutdown.

    • Submitted by Alan Straka on 01/23/2019 - 11:58 am.

      Who said he doesn’t support immigration reform? The wall has nothing to do with that. Peterson simply wants to get government reopened. Use money for the wall as the price for reform. Trump’s proposal was paltry and the Dems were right to reject it but he at least made an offer which is more than Pelosi is willing to do. The wall is not going to make a damn bit of difference and if giving Trump his 5 billion will get government working again, provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers, provide relief for those with temporary protection status and provide a platform for rational immigration policy then I am with Rep. Peterson.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/23/2019 - 12:04 pm.

      It sounds more like he just doesn’t want to be bothered with it.

      I lived in his (now) district when he made his first run for Congress in ’84. I voted against him in the primary, not because he was too conservative (he was, but what did I expect in that area?), but because I didn’t get the sense that he had any good reason for wanting to run for Congress. It was just the logical next step for such a nice young man.

      He’s not so young anymore, but it’s hard for me to discern why he wants to be in Congress.

    • Submitted by Don Casey on 01/23/2019 - 12:24 pm.

      It would seem that the wall and immigration reform are separate issues, not one in the same. Although I personally consider “the wall” ill-advised and having little effect, its purpose seems directed to deter *illegal* immigrants. The long-running immigration reform debate has been focused on the Dreamers. So why couldn’t Peterson pragmatically support the fence (it’s no longer a wall) while supporting immigration reform (legislation)? Pragmatism (sadly lacking these days) might break this stupid growing split in our nation.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/24/2019 - 08:09 am.

        Don, the main flaw with Peterson’s mentality (and possibly yours) is that you’re dealing with people who will not “deal”. They’ll get their wall but you will NEVER get your immigration reform nor anything close to it. Look at the “compromise” Republicans have offered in the Senate, It’s not “reform” it’s a new layer of hostility. Republicans promised to work on immigration reform two years ago (remember the LAST shutdown?). What makes you think they’ll do it now?

        Any compromise will be a failed compromise and my experience with people who advocate failed compromise is that they themselves won’t have to actually live the outcome.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/25/2019 - 05:20 pm.

          I don’t think Republicans want any immigration fix. It’s a good campaign issue with their base. Every time an immigration deal comes close, the far right goes nuts and kills it, their moderates back away. And now, they hardly have any moderates left.

          • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 01/27/2019 - 07:33 am.

            The exact same argument applies to the Democrats. They too don’t want to fix immigration so they can use this as a campaign weapon against the Republicans.

            The Democrats had many years during the Obama administration where they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. Why didn’t they fix this mess when they had full control?

    • Submitted by Erik Granse on 01/23/2019 - 01:11 pm.

      I don’t agree with the sorts of conditions Peterson sets out, but do agree that given the right conditions, Democrats should agree to funding the wall. Something like agreeing to process asylum requests swiftly and by law, allowing x hundred thousand economic migrants permanent residency per year, and granting amnesty to all immigrants in the country who don’t have a felony conviction.

      Totally fair trade for a wall, and an overall moral good. (The fact that a non-xenophobic approach to immigration obviates the need for a wall is neither here nor there.)

  2. Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/23/2019 - 11:27 am.

    Colin Peterson knows a bit about wasting money on stupid things. The US pays farmers in his district about a billion dollars a year to farm sugarbeets.

  3. Submitted by Franz Kitzberger on 01/23/2019 - 11:35 am.

    I’m probably the only one left with the guts to say what I’ve been saying for years. It’s ridiculous–that the 7th Congressional District keeps sending this Blue-Dog Dino back to Washington. To “represent” what?–the self-interests of Pro-Lifers (I’m Pro-Death, perforce) and corporate Big Farma? People of the 7th: Recall.Replace.Resist.

    • Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/23/2019 - 03:45 pm.

      Unfortunately, Petersen perfectly represents D7. The area is the opposite of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”

      The area is populated by social conservatives, whose livelihoods are completely reliant on government subsidy.

  4. Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 01/23/2019 - 11:38 am.

    Rep. Peterson didn’t watch his language on this; he’s now trying to “walk back” his phrasing of what clearly is a capitulation to Trump’s snit on The Wall. Shades of Rudy Giuliani!

    And, any mother or grandmother knows you don’t give in to a tantrum-throwing toddler, because they’ll just keep repeating their tantrums on anything else they want. You don’t just give them whatever it is.

    That’s the true danger with Trump. He must be taught, once and for all what legislative negotiations really are (quiet, both sides talking with each other outside the limelight). And what divided government looks like.

    Peterson deserves all the heat he’s getting.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/23/2019 - 11:45 am.

    I don’t think anyone who wants to compromise with Fascism can be accused of acting courageously… but that’s just me. Here’s what MLK had to say:

    “”First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate… who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice”

  6. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 01/23/2019 - 11:48 am.

    The wall is not necessary…it’s a political football for the right with donnie’s temper tantrum forcing the issue.
    We have a horrendous deficit that is increasing at $1Trillion a year, while the repubs want this ridiculous $6 Billion wall built without paying for it.
    I’m beginning to wonder if there is a smidgen of fiscal responsibility in conservatives…including Peterson???

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/23/2019 - 08:44 pm.

      I couldn’t agree more with you Gene, but let me pose this thought to all on the board who think that the Democrats should continue to refuse to take any action to end the shutdown –

      We know Trump is a master of distraction. He regularly creates some crisis or controversy to change the focus from topics for which he’s feeling the heat – for example, the Russia investigation.

      You notice how though there’s still some focus on that investigation, it’s a bit of a side-issue now – 90% of the national focus is on this crisis that he created with the shutdown.

      I think you could argue that especially now that he’s gone thru the motions of being ‘reasonable’ by offering something in exchange for his magic wall, the main focus in coming weeks, is going to be this shutdown, and the public perception that this is a god-awful stupid Trump-Nancy fight, probably with about equal blame going to each person, and to each party, from this point forward (unlike prior to this, where Trump has been hurt more).

      From Trump’s perspective, that’s probably SO much better than most of the national attention going to his many scandals – his close associates conspiracy to rig the 2016, his likely money-laundering for the Russians by selling Trump tower units with no question asked to the Russian mafia, and the dozen or so other scandals brewing..

      So I think in a way letting this crisis go on and on and on and on is doing the Trumpster a big favor.

      Personally, I’d rather see the Democrats get credit for being willing to end the shutdown now, earn the gratitude of about a million government workers and take the hit Trump has taken in his approval rating.

      End the crisis, which is going to only hurt the workers and the country more and more in future weeks/months, and then get to the business of getting to the bottom of the rotten Trump administration thru investigations.

      On the fiscal responsibility issue, I think the big concern here should not be a fairly minor 5 billion (minor considering our 1 trillion dollar budget), IT’S THE CREDIT RATING OF THIS COUNTRY’s DEBT.

      There is worrisome talk of how if this shutdown doesn’t end soon, that the credit rating of US government debt might be downgraded.

      Since we have 22 TRILLION dollars of it, that’s a VERY, very big deal IMO.

      Every additional percentage point that the government has to pay in interest due to a downgrade on that debt is a huge, huge amount of money, and makes 5 billion in comparison seem like a dime that fell out of the pocket while taking a walk one day – literally chump-change.

      Not only that, since NEITHER political party is serious about fiscal responsibility, we need someone to step forward and buy about 1 trillion dollars of additional T-Bills a year, to keep this country afloat.

      And as this shutdown drags on, I worry that the whole world is going to perceive that the US is almost beyond hope, broken, dysfunctional, and certainly not worthy of lending another 1 TRILLION a year to !

      If that day comes when we can’t sell 1 trillion dollars a year in new T-bills, watch out – that’s when interest rates on the existing debt goes WAY up, social security checks stop going out, every government program gets cut big-time to pay the additional debt interest and the forced lowering of the budget expenditures – we’re talking a financial crisis, with rioting in the streets, starvation, bank collapses, and that could last decades and make the great depression look like a minor event.

      So while I totally agree with the theoretical idea that no compromise should be agreed to, I think in reality we’e not in a financial position as a country to pay the potentially catastrophic price for letting this shutdown go on much longer.

      Best to end the crisis now, and focus on getting Trump out of office, either thru impeachment, or seeing he and his republican enablers lose very, very badly in the 2020 elections…

      The focus IMO should not be on ‘resisting’ Trump, but on soundly defeating him – either by impeachment or at the polls in 2020 – and to keep the country from imploding (which is what I see this shutdown as step towards) IN THE MEANTIME…

      This ongoing government shutdown not only hurts government workers badly, as mentioned, it’s very dangerous to our US debt credit rating, AND it takes the focus off of Trump’s many scandals.

      As this shutdown crisis, I think fewer and fewer people in the general public will care very much about those scandals – the shutdown will be the national focus, and in that fight, Trump is not losing anywhere nearly as badly as he is with all the scandals surrounding he and his corrupt family and administration.

  7. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 01/23/2019 - 11:52 am.

    Good for Collin. If he really wants to force everyone to the table he should introduce legislation that automatically shuts off the paychecks for all Congressional and White House leaders and staff whenever there is a shutdown in any part of the federal government. Then everyone would feel the pain in their own offices, and not just be holding a bunch of TSA agents and Air Traffic Controllers hostage for these temper tantrums.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/23/2019 - 05:08 pm.

      Legislation accomplishes nothing, unless it is passed by both houses and signed by the President. Is that really going to happen in time to do anything meaningful about the Toddler-in-Chief’s temper tantrum?

      Freezing the pay of Congress probably would be constitutional only if there were a mechanism for getting the back pay to them (U.S. Const. amend XXVII). That would defeat the whole purpose.

  8. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/23/2019 - 11:57 am.

    Up until the point where Trump offered his ‘compromise’, I was 100% in favor of standing firm and saying absolutely no.

    Shutting the government down is saying ‘we don’t have the votes to get the legislation we want, but TO HELL WITH DEMOCRACY, we will take the country hostage to get what we want.

    If both sides start doing that, our government would be closed most of the time, and we definitely don’t have a democracy anymore.

    However, now that Trump is offering something in exchange, I think much of the public will blame both sides about equally from here, so there’s no more political advantage to the democrats, and the government workers are suffering terribly from this.

    So my advice to them (I’m an independent) would be to take the deal, but to make it very clear that they will NOT do any ‘negotiating’ if the president or the republicans pull this shit in the future.

    Democrats who are in favor of holding out further are IMO not accurately taking into account the amount of pain this is going to cause not only government employees (who are probably on the verge of quitting their jobs), but also the general public as more and more services are cutoff or curtailed, and the amount of blame to be put on both Trump AND them.

    I also tend to agree with Collin Peterson – yes, the wall is a joke – 95% of illegal drugs come in by mixing them in with legitimate goods in 18 wheelers, in hidden compartments in cars going thru checkpoints, by private cargo airplanes, fishing boats, cargo ships and tunnels – very little is being back-packed over the desert as I understand it, so very little will be stopped by a new wall.

    But he’s right, we’ve spent money on stupider things.

    As for a wall being “immoral” – OMG, what kind of fu-fu nonsense is that? That’s an incredibly weak argument, in fact I don’t understand what it’s even supposed to mean.

    The strongest argument on the democratic side is that these government shutdowns should, in an ideal world, never be given in to.

    It’s legislative terrorism, and we should never negotiate with terrorists.

    But I think Trump, who is about as moronic as they come, has learned his lesson that government shutdowns are painful and most importantly – they hurt his approval rating, and the man is so narcissistic that that’s pretty much all he cares about.

    So I don’t think he’ll do it again – but if he does, after giving him fair warning this time that this will be the last time there will be any ‘negotiating’ with terrorists, that’s the time to stand firm no matter what.

    But if I were a democrat, I’d be focusing on winning big in 2020, and since Trump has damaged himself and his party fairly badly with this senseless and destructive exercise in bad judgment, this time I’d leave it at that – and move on to investigating Putin’s man in the white house, and all his shady and treasonous dealings.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/23/2019 - 03:30 pm.

      Presidents have veto power. Congress passes bill and if the President doesn’t like the bill(s), he or she can veto them. Then Congress must either override the veto or come up with a new bill. That is how the Constitution was written. The shutdown happened because Congress refuse to pass bills the President liked and doesn’t have the votes to override a veto.

    • Submitted by Richard Owens on 01/23/2019 - 04:03 pm.

      To understand the morality of the Wall, I would point you to Mexicali and Calexico, twin towns in the southern end of the Imperial Valley. Folks who live in those two towns have moved freely back and forth, going to work, shopping visiting friends and returning home.

      Those twin towns have had a long history without a barrier. Presumably, this is a place that doesn’t need Donald Trump or Steve King or Stephen Miller telling them what character they and their fellow residents have.

      This is where migrant laborers cross to pick your food.

      This is where Americans enter the Baja.

      This place and these people have lived in peace for many many years.

      Until Trump.

      There’s the immorality. Militarizing (that’s RAZOR WIRE) a community in order to feed xenophobic voters and the black hearts of racists who want to make American foreign policy.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/24/2019 - 08:59 pm.

        Thanks Richard, I hadn’t thought of the situation from that point of view.
        Nancy should probably use that type of example when she starts talking about the immorality of the wall, because I don’t think it’s all that obvious how an inanimate object is immoral. Having said that, I still think that’s not the most effective argument against the wall, the most effective argument IMO still remains that it simply won’t work in the way that Trump keeps arguing it will.
        The interesting thing about that – I do kind of wonder if he actually knows himself he’s grossly overselling how much a wall would prevent the flow of drugs and illegal immigration, or he’s giving his supporters what he promised, even though he knows it was just a bogus magic solution promise.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 01/23/2019 - 05:00 pm.

      “So my advice to them (I’m an independent) would be to take the deal, but to make it very clear that they will NOT do any ‘negotiating’ if the president or the republicans pull this shit in the future. ”

      Okay – so they give in and take the deal, the government re-opens and we move forward, and then in a few months or so, Trump does it again, and once again allows time to lapse and pain to ensue – then what? They give in again and say “But THIS time I mean it! No more shutdowns after this!”

      And so on.

      Trump doesn’t care. His approval rating among his base hasn’t slipped all that much, and his base is all he cares about. So as far as he can see, shutdowns aren’t really hurting him much at all.

      He doesn’t care about the hostages, and he doesn’t see that he has much to lose by letting the pain continue until the Democrats give in.

      Given that attitude, there is absolutely NO guarantee that he won’t just do it again.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/24/2019 - 09:26 pm.

        Hi Pat, yes, it could be that no matter however strongly the Democratic leadership words a ‘this is a one-time pass’ statement, that would just be taken as meaningless words, and as you said, they might pull this crap again.

        As I said in reply to other posters, I may have misjudged how the public will place the blame for this thing, now that Trump is making at least a show at ‘compromising’. I care about that public blame aspect in reference to how it affects the 2020 elections.

        If the public is smart enough to continue to blame Trump and the republicans by a good margin for this mess going forward, and we can avoid a US government debt downgrade (which Fitch has warned about), and which is probably my single biggest worry, then maybe you’re absolutely right – no compromise, no ‘negotiating’, no giving an inch to what I would call legislative terrorism.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/23/2019 - 05:12 pm.

      “But I think Trump, who is about as moronic as they come, has learned his lesson that government shutdowns are painful and most importantly – they hurt his approval rating, and the man is so narcissistic that that’s pretty much all he cares about.”

      No, he hasn’t. The man pays no attention to anything that isn’t at least positive about him. Polls that show low approval rating are fake news. His narcissism, coupled with his stupidity, won’t let him see reality.

      Giving in now and accepting his so-called compromise (it’s a load of rubbish) would just teach him that he will get his way by pulling crap like this. That will be his takeaway, and it would be even more destructive to let him do it again.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/24/2019 - 08:54 pm.

        Hi RB, maybe you’re right, I am kind of constantly amazed at the fantasy world he lives in, for example, without a moments hesitation answering “I’d give myself an A+” when asked what grade he’d give himself as president.
        I guess I’m going by reports that he the shutdown being blamed on him was hitting him hard, and he has a haggard look these days I haven’t seen before. But having said that, I agree that he is extremely delusional as you said, so I suppose while any reasonable human would have learned by this experience that when you put you hand on a hot stove it burns, so don’t do that again – maybe he won’t have learned that lesson. I actually think he’s hurt himself fairly badly in his reelection chances by this shutdown, even a lot of supporters are realizing that hey, this guy and his clueless cabinet have NO idea what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, maybe he’s NOT “our guy”.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/23/2019 - 07:59 pm.

      Bob, Trump doesn’t speak the majority, most people will continue to blame him. The latest CBS poll only 28% believe the wall is worth shutting the government down and keeping it shut down. Trump’s approval has dropped to a all time low. People know who is responsible for this shut down and they’re not going to be confused by ridiculous offer, specially when the court just ruled that Trump can’t end DACA unilaterally anyways.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/24/2019 - 08:48 pm.

        Hi Paul, maybe you’re right on saying that people will continue to blame Trump and the Republicans more than the democrats, even though Trump has now offered a ‘compromise’. The poll article I read today did show his approval at an all-time low I believe, although I’m not sure if that poll was taken after or before Trump offered his temporary dreamer concession or not. I hope you’re right, and that the public is smart enough to put the blame where it truly belongs, maybe I was too pessimistic on the assumption that from here on out, Trump and the democrats would be blamed roughly equally..

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/28/2019 - 08:14 am.

          Bob, people will continue to blame Trump because he is to blame. He has not offered a compromise, he’s offered to stop doing something the courts have already blocked, for a limited time.

  9. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/23/2019 - 12:19 pm.

    Peterson represents the appeasement wing of the party. Like Chamberlain, he promises “peace in our time” if we just give in to the hostage takers.

    How’d it work out for that surrender monkey Chamberlain?

    • Submitted by Don Casey on 01/23/2019 - 08:00 pm.

      He doesn’t resent a party — or a faction of it. He represents the citizens of the Seventh Congressional District — which has a conservative lean. The longest-serving member of Congress in Minnesota is a Democrat in a conservative district. How do you suppose that happened? Focus on the best interests of his district (as he perceives them) rather than those of his party.

  10. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 01/23/2019 - 12:26 pm.

    Dare we call him a maverick? It was fine when the late Senator John McCain went against his party. Now Mr. Peterson goes against the prevailing attitude in his party and all hell breaks loose.

  11. Submitted by JoAnn Meyer on 01/23/2019 - 12:38 pm.

    All of you who read this article, please do so carefully. Don’t just read the headlines and make assumptions. Peterson has a very good compromise. He is not just saying to give in to Trump-he is suggesting to build under his requirements. In no way does he say it will solve all the problems but it might help solve some. Also he does not propose to keep out immigrants but to allow them into our country in an orderly way. Isn’t this what all of us want?

  12. Submitted by John Velie on 01/23/2019 - 01:26 pm.

    Hats off to Collin Peterson who, by the way, does really care about the people in his district. Yes, do offer Prez Bonespurs the money with – like Peterson states – Strings Attached. That’s called negotiating. Collin Peterson, what a pro.

  13. Submitted by Tom Goldstein on 01/23/2019 - 01:33 pm.

    Nothing gutsy about proposing to capitulate on a wall for the reasons that Peterson has stated. A wall is not going to prevent drugs or criminals from entering the U.S.; they will find a way over or under as they have demonstrated again and again throughout recent history. What a wall will do is keep out refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers fleeing horrible conditions in their own countries to seek a better life here. Trump wants to keep those people out for political, xenophobic reasons–not because they pose a danger or threaten America’s “way of life.” Rural America is hugely dependent on migrant workers to pick its crops, as Southern states found when they passed laws targeting migrant workers a few years ago only to discover that no locals were willing to do the backbreaking labor. Maybe Peterson should focus on solving that issue so that Minnesota does not face the same plight. The fact that he would suggest it’s okay to waste billions of dollars on a ridiculous project because we’ve done so before is an argument only career politicians like Peterson would make. The rest of us have no problem recognizing how foolish this logic sounds.

  14. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 01/23/2019 - 01:35 pm.

    The USA does not negotiate with terrorists. Nor should we waste time or energy trying to deal with bullies, or with cruel, sadistic power hungry types only looking out for themselves$ and hellbent on constant chaos and destruction.

    On the campaign trail, in Oct 2016 and on public tv, Trump publicly stated that his shared goal with Bannon was to “obliterate the federal government”. That statement, along with the July 2016 “Russia if you’re listening” (also on camera) should have stopped us ALL in our tracks and caused us to overwhelmingly reject any possibility of either of these individuals ever being in any position of power and authority over us.

    Additionally, walls don’t work. Examples in other countries are a testament to that fact. Furthermore, any ‘wall’ along the southern border would also affect air and soil erosion, and even more importantly it would BLOCK necessary wildlife migrations!!!

    And absolutely no legally required EIS studies have been done, to-date, nor have any actual costs been calculated. (Trump just makes them up and then raises that on whim). And since the wealthy and corporate America have almost stopped paying taxes, well where on earth is the $$ going to come from??? The ‘little people’ already have had Trillion$ dumped on their backs with his latest ‘tax cuts’ for the rich.

    Finally, no contracts have been issued…because private land is involved in many places and only eminent domain and lawsuits will work all of that out. This will take YEARS and again, cost a fortune.

    There is so much more involved here than just Trump vs Pelosi in a ‘he said, she said’ political play. I urge all Americans to do their homework and learn all of the many important details, and avoid media sound bites and FOX et al propaganda. Regarding this issue and all issues. WE must all try much harder to be awake and aware and well-informed and proactive, the better to protect ourselves from those who wish to harm us and destroy life as we have known it, and to protect and preserve for future generations. Our cherished democracy depends upon it!

  15. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 01/23/2019 - 01:44 pm.

    It is not guts to pander to the right for your reelection prospects. It is political expediency.

  16. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 01/23/2019 - 02:02 pm.

    “You think if we put the strings on, the wall would ever get built?” he asked, with a laugh. “Let’s talk about the reality there.”

    Someone recently said there was no trust among our elected leaders; they’re all conniving schemers…wonder why?

  17. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/23/2019 - 02:28 pm.

    Some common sense in that statement. We already have hundreds of miles of wall and fencing in place. 5 billion is peanuts compared to what we spend on illegals each year. This whole thing could have been avoided if Democrats would actually compromise once in a while.

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/23/2019 - 02:53 pm.

    I like Collin just fine. He votes for Democrats to organize the house and that’s the most important thing a congressman does each year. And telling us to cave in on the wall is ok to, on that issue he has the most gilded of golden tickets. But it is hard to read that in doing so he is doing so because he has guts, with emitting a healthy guffaw. Collin wins elections by being the most conservative Democrat possible in a conservative district. This kind of issue, where his vote couldn’t possibly matter, is ideal for the kind of posturing that keeps him in Congress. It’s fine for him to say that, but let’s not print it as if it were true.

  19. Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 01/23/2019 - 04:10 pm.

    Colin Peterson says.. “Give Trump the money.”

    Even with strings attached, Mr. Peterson, Trump will DEMAND even more money down the road. Donald Trump does NOT play by the rules. He lies and cheats. Nor will he be held to uphold any agreements set forth by the Congress.

    Give in to a bratty child, and you are taken advantage of every time.

  20. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/23/2019 - 04:41 pm.

    I keep hearing the wall was Trump’s campaign promise. No it wasn’t. The campaign promise was the Mexican’s will pay for the wall. Trump has forgotten his own promise. Let Trump fulfil his campaign promise as originally promised or forget about it. At 70 years old, our little boy, president has to find out tantrums won’t get him all he desires.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/24/2019 - 08:49 am.

      Yes, this is why any attempt to blame “both sides” is simply incoherent. Trump and McConnell have shut the government down in order to wring wall funding from Congress instead of Mexico. Sure that was a stupid “promise” but the wall is a stupid idea but it was an idea the Democrats had nothing to do with. The wall- Trump’s idea. Getting Congress and the American people instead of Mexico to pay for the wall- Trump’s idea. Shutting the government down in order to get the money for the wall from Congress- Trump’s idea. Democrats already compromised with Trump once to end the LAST shutdown and instead of working on immigration reform Republicans spent the last two years fighting to build the wall while layering more and more hostility and suffering upon immigrants and their children. So “both sides” are to blame? No, no, and no.

      Meanwhile there’s absolutely no reason to assume that giving Trump his wall money now, will lead to any kind of reform or compromise of any kind later. On the contrary, one thing we know for certain about Trump’s mentality (and the Republicans who support him) is that compromise is considered surrender, and while they’re always be happy to accept someone else’s surrender, that only strengthens their resolve to demand more capitulation moving forward. That’s a very dangerous game to play when you have a Fascist in the White House.

  21. Submitted by tim johnson on 01/23/2019 - 04:58 pm.

    This is Collin’s announcement he’s running for Prez.
    Hear, Hear.

  22. Submitted by Tory Koburn on 01/23/2019 - 05:23 pm.

    Peterson’s electoral margins have been steadily decreasing, yes – since 2012. Astute observers will note that election took place after the last census. After that, his returns shot back up to over 60%. If Peterson can pull through 2020, he can probably survive.

    Then again, the 7th district after the 2020 census could include more of the far SW corner of the state, and less of the western suburbs. If so, it may not matter how good he is at representing his district.

  23. Submitted by Charles Thompson on 01/23/2019 - 06:24 pm.

    Let me know when the check comes from Mexico. In the meanwhile stick your head in an ice fishing hole and call me in the morning. Just kidding.

  24. Submitted by JUDITH MONSON on 01/23/2019 - 07:53 pm.

    What could possibly go wrong with spending a kazillion dollars that don’t belong to you on behalf of a screaming toddler running wild in his “jammies?” I wonder about you, Colin. Could such a generous act as you propose pass the rotten sugar beet smell test?

  25. Submitted by Gary Fredrickson on 01/24/2019 - 12:12 am.

    I can remember Democrats often calling for “working across the aisle”.Of course that meant nothing when it came to passing the ACA but here is a chance to get some concessions from this “evil fascist” and they don’t want to even talk. Collin Peterson seems like a reasonable man.

    The unhinged resentment of President Trump “TDS” seems to lead many on the left [yes, lots of the people posting here] to prefer Trump loses rather than the country wins.

    Yes, the deficit and debt is out of control but I bet most of the people complaining here now were not complaining when Obama was spending. I’ve been expecting financial collapse for many years but what do I know?

    If the people posting here think the fence is not necessary or will do no good, they should try listening to the border agents trying to control the masses coming in illegally. In other words, go to the men on the ground and ask them.They will tell you it IS needed..

    We should probably not listen to congresspeople who live in walled communities and/or have lots of security and say a wall is immoral.

    Oh and Frank. I think Neville Chamberlain would be the guy saying “Don’t worry, the border is fine, We’re not being invaded CNN and Nancy Pelosi promised me that”.

  26. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 01/24/2019 - 08:55 am.

    Well at least Colin and I are both dealing in anatomy. He thinks he has guts, I think he needs to find a spine.

  27. Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/24/2019 - 09:05 am.

    Arguments on both sides seem to hinge on the idea that construction of “The Wall” is being proposed in good faith. A wall is never going to get built, even if the funds are appropriated. The $5.7 billion will disappear into various shell companies. I don’t think this administration will even bother with a token fence to disguise the grift.

    At some level Peterson must understand this, as his entire career has been built on appropriating government funds for agricultural products that would be otherwise be unviable.

  28. Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/24/2019 - 10:52 am.

    I like the fact that folks here in Minnesota know more than th3 Border Patrol working at the walll. Everybody who actually works at the border believes strategic fencing will force the flow of immigrants to choke points and make their job easier. We need more work permits, green cards and temporary work visas but have to get some control of illegal immigrants entering our country undetected first.

    • Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/24/2019 - 11:41 am.

      I live in Tucson half the year and nobody in that area thinks there is a need for a wall. Especially the Border Patrol, who see the wall as a threat to their overpaid jobs sitting around all day at the existing militarized check points.

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/24/2019 - 06:23 pm.

        Come on over to Texas and you’ll see and hear folks wanting a strategically placed wall. Border Patrol also agrees on a wall being important.

        • Submitted by N. Coleman on 01/25/2019 - 09:51 am.

          I don’t really believe that as the border wall in TX is requires building on privately owned land. The only angle I see is if texan landowners in favor of a wall see some sort of financial windfall from selling or having a wall on their land.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2019 - 03:34 pm.

      Trump is not proposing “strategic fencing.” As far as anyone can tell, he wants a big ol’ wall. Nothing strategic about it, he wants a physical barricade along the entire length of the border. It’s simple for him to remember.

      Or, I think that’s what he wants. It’s hard to tell with a President who has the attention span of a dog on a squirrel farm.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 09:07 am.

      Every single Republican House member from a district along the border is apposed to the wall.

  29. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/24/2019 - 11:52 am.

    Like a wall to nowhere, this appears to be a conversation gathering of opinions to nowhere! Evidently my memory has faded, I remember 2 quotes: “The Mexicans will pay for the wall” and “I am proud to shut down the government” OK, what did I miss, why am I being asked to pay for a wall?

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 01/24/2019 - 01:17 pm.

      Just goes to show ya, no one listens to ANYTHING Donald says any more, his word means less than nothing.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 11:24 am.

        Yes, a Washington Post survey last month found that fewer than 30% of Americans actually believe anything Trump says. We all know that when you trust someone or believe what they tell you… you stop listening. This is why Trump is getting “crushed”.

  30. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 01/24/2019 - 01:15 pm.

    “People say, [the wall] is a waste of money. Maybe it is… We’ve wasted money on stupider things than this.”

    Here’s something that should have occurred to Collin, maybe rather than wasting more money, just because he’s voted to waste money before, how about we stop wasting money on stupid things, period? Wouldn’t that be great. Get on that Collin.

  31. Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/25/2019 - 11:23 am.

    Reading this thread, it strikes me how most think the immigrants are employable. The immigrants are not skilled in the trades, how many are electricians, welders, plumbers? Most don’t speak English. To be employable in the USA today, 95% of the jobs require you speak English, can do basic math and are adept at problem solving. Please look at the educational system in the Triangle countries and tell me who is going to employ these immigrants?

    Independent Govt studies show 63% of both legal and illegal immigrants are on some form of Govt assistance. The number only goes up by letting these caravans thru. We need skilled labor, more green cards and work visas not unvetted open borders.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 01/27/2019 - 04:26 am.

      Totally anecdotal, but the last time I had a new roof put on my house, the workers that showed up didn’t speak a word of English. I have no idea if they were illegal or not, but they were some of the hardest working, nicest folks I’ve ever been around and since I speak Spanish, we had no problem communicating. They did a great job on my roof. By comparison, a couple of years later. I hired a company to do some landscape work. The white guys that showed up (late) were some of the most unprofessional, laziest people I’ve ever seen. I fired that company and hired another who, once gain, employed Spanish speaking workers that absolutely kicked butt and did a fantastic job.
      I have no idea if the were illegal or not, but knowing a bit about those two industries, I would suspect that they were and they seemed pretty “employable” to me.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/29/2019 - 06:00 pm.

        You just proved Mr. Smith’s point. How many more roofers and landscapers do we need? Supposedly we need thousands of college graduates to help pay for the retiring boomers.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 01/30/2019 - 04:10 pm.

          Considering the fact that those industries are crying for workers, a lot more than you think. How that supposedly “proves Joe’s point” is baffling.

  32. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 06:29 pm.

    “Independent Govt studies show 63% of both legal and illegal immigrants are on some form of Govt assistance.”

    This is a false claim. This statistic is NOT a product of any independent government studies, it’s a product of manufactured research originating at the Center for Immigration Studies which is no way associated with the government. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes CIS this way:

    “Founded in 1985 by John Tanton, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has gone on to become the go-to think tank for the anti-immigrant movement with its reports and staffers often cited by media and anti-immigrant politicians. CIS’s much-touted tagline is “low immigration, pro-immigrant,” but the organization has a decades-long history of circulating racist writers, while also associating with white nationalists.”

    • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/26/2019 - 07:53 am.

      Paul, look up census bureau statistics. Takes one minute to educate oneself on news you won’t see on MSM.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2019 - 09:31 am.

        Joe, the census bureau doesn’t count illegal immigrants, or track welfare recipients. You may have noticed in the news that the courts just blocked Trump’s attempt to ask about citizenship status for the first time in history. So no, you didn’t this bogus data from the census bureau, you’re just doubling down on one false claim by making another.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/26/2019 - 12:32 pm.

        Well JS since you have already done it, please provide the link so we all look at the same data set and are able to judge its credibility, and not argue about, whose numbers are right and whose are wrong. Seems to be Paul’s point in the first place. Fair enough?

        • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/27/2019 - 09:34 am.

          There are multiple stories on it , just not MSM. census-63% . Immigrants are also less likely to be insured, use emergency care more and as I stated, be unemployable.

          Who is going to hire a person who can’t speak English, can’t do math and doesn’t own a skill the trades?

          • Submitted by Dave Carlson on 01/27/2019 - 12:12 pm.

            The Meat-packing industry, for one… agriculture, roofing contractors, landscapers, a lot of service industry jobs… jobs that many “white folks” don’t wish to be employed at.

            • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/28/2019 - 08:39 am.

              Dave, you are absolutely correct, there are about 5% of the jobs available in the USA to non English speaking unskilled labor. Those jobs are covered by the 22 Million illegal aliens that are already here. They work for low cash and undermine other workers trying to get those jobs. That is why we need E-verify as part of a total revamp of immigration.
              That doesn’t take away from census bureau findings that 63% of immigrants, both legal and illegal, are on some form of Government assistance.
              As I stated, the immigrants are not employable by 95% of businesses in USA.

              • Submitted by ian wade on 01/28/2019 - 03:40 pm.

                They don’t undermine anyone because no one wants those jobs.




                • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/29/2019 - 06:06 pm.

                  “No one wants those jobs”. You forgot to add “at the present rate of pay”. Lots of people will take jobs once the pay is higher, but as long as people will work for less and companies can stay in business, the wages stay low. Undocumented workers undermine the people who stand to gain a pay raise if those jobs weren’t taken by people willing to work for lower wages.

                  • Submitted by ian wade on 01/30/2019 - 04:20 pm.

                    Nonsense. I actually know people in construction and one who owns a landscape company. Roofing and landscaping jobs are physically demanding work done in hot conditions and requiring long hours. Both have told me that only certain demographics will apply and endure it. I worked my way through college as a landscaper back in the 70’s and I’d never do it again, nor would I want my kids to do it now.
                    Please spare me the myth that illegals undermine wages…the republican party has made wage theft from the middle class a core tenet of their ideology.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/29/2019 - 03:06 pm.

                “Those jobs are covered by the 22 Million illegal aliens that are already here.”

                According to DHS, there are an estimated 12 million immigrants in the US illegally (including Eastern European models who overstay their visas, I would guess).

                I’m not sure where your numbers come from, but the 22 million figure you cite likely comes from a study done at Yale. That study is about as accurate as a figure cited by Trump. The 22 million figure they give is just an “average,” as they estimate the number of illegals to be anywhere from 16.7 million to 27.45 million.

                A range of 10 million always seems accurate to me.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/28/2019 - 08:19 am.

            Joe, I don’t even know what MSN is. I do know that you can’t provide a reliable source for false information.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2019 - 09:32 am.

            Do you have another source? I tried to find that story, but the link you supplied didn’t work. I went to the Newstarget homepage, but got distracted by stories about the WHO report that shows that the vaccine deep state is growing anxious, the cryptocurrency set up for firearms purchases, and the one about Oregon Democrats trying to outlaw self-defense.

            • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/28/2019 - 09:40 am.

              Go to Yahoo search and plug in census bureau 63% of immigrants on Government assistance. You’ll find a page full of articles.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2019 - 11:18 am.

                I used Google.

                The first hits were from the CIS and the Washington Examiner. I consider neither source to be especially reliable (CIS has been classified as a hate group by the SPLC).

                The only reliable sources that come close to backing up your claim note that benefits are going either to immigrants who have been here for more than five years, or to native-born children of immigrants (US citizens).

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/29/2019 - 01:00 pm.

            Sorry JS, as a couple of other folks have already posted, Stuff needs to pass the sniff test, First sniff of, comes up (Strongly right wing biased) source:
            Not to get off topic but, kind of like reading the bible, and expecting to see a fair analysis of Islam, Buddhism, Shinto etc.

  33. Submitted by Mike Hindin on 01/27/2019 - 10:05 am.

    Sure, when Republican senators agree to vote 100% for an income tax surcharge to fully pay for the “wall” and 10 years of maintence. Wall lovers won’t actually support paying for it especially blue collar and retail workers.

  34. Submitted by Wayne Nealis on 01/28/2019 - 09:47 am.

    Might their be a chance to win comprehensive immigration reform in the next 3 weeks? The following Senate bill of 2013 may not please everyone, and parts of it I do not agree with all of it, but it is a place to start. Petersen along with a bi-partisan group supported it, the House did not pass it, but it might now with some amendments. It is not justice in full, but it did have support of some immigrant rights groups. It is a compromise and that is what we need. check it out…..Colin and others House members in similar districts might lead the effort??? regards, Wayne
    The 2013 Senate Immigration Bill: S.744:
    What is S. 744?:
    EXCERPTS from Congressional Research Service report: February 27, 2013
    The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” or S. 744, is a broad-based proposal for reforming the U.S. immigration system written by a bipartisan group of eight Senators known as the “Gang of Eight.” Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) drafted S. 744 in the spring of 2013. The bill addresses all aspects of the immigration process from border and enforcement issues to legal immigration reforms. It makes changes to the family and employment-based visa categories for immigrants, provides critical due-process protections, increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to supplement all sectors of the workforce, and provides legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants within the United States.

    [to next excerpt]

    If enacted, S. 744 would require that a series of enforcement measures, or “triggers,” go into effect prior to completing the legalization process.

    For example, although undocumented immigrants will be allowed to register for the new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program almost immediately, before those in RPI status can apply to become lawful permanent residents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must certify that the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, 700 miles of fencing is complete, 38,405 border patrol agents are deployed, and the E-Verify employment verification system is in place, among other requirements.

    One of the key aspects of the bill, backed by both labor and business, is a new “W” worker program that could expand over time based on workforce needs. Although W visas are for a limited duration, workers in W status may eventually be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence, marking the first time that such less-skilled nonimmigrant workers would be allowed to transition to permanent resident status without an employer’s sponsorship.

  35. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 01/29/2019 - 04:35 pm.

    I prefer a Democratic Party that occasionally agrees to disagree. He is representing the opinion of his agriculture district in which I grew up. If we are going to have comprehensive immigration Congress is going to have to make a deal parts of which each side detests.

    He clearly said that a complete wall Is nonsense, but better border security is not. We need to keep drugs and criminals out and are not doing so. Our process for accepting refugees is broken and those who overstay visas are s problem we haven’t touched. We obviously need guest workers, but an automatic channel to citizenship is not required – most developed countries do not offer that. And dreamers – the idea of deporting them is an obscenity. It is also obscene that guys like Trumo willfully hire undocumented workers to hold down the labor costs and fire them. Wealthy cheats like Trumo should face major fines if they don’t use e-verify and and look the other way. The only way undocumented workers are here because they fill a need – and get punished for it.

    That is s lot of truth telling and probably everyone is offended, but let’s deal with things are they are and stop playing pretend.

  36. Submitted by Tom Crain on 01/30/2019 - 02:07 pm.

    “People say, [the wall] is a waste of money. Maybe it is… We’ve wasted money on stupider things than this. Maybe it isn’t going to do much good, it’s probably not going to do much harm.” Here’s what you get with a moderate politician. Back to the good ‘ol days of pork barrel politics and bridges to nowhere. You vote for my boondoggle and I’ll vote for yours. See? We’re reachin’ across the isle, getting things done!

    Centrists like Collins will spend money just to be agreeable. What’s wrong with debating the merits of an idea? Instead of telling Trump the wall is ‘immoral’ (morality cannot be ascribed to a thing, but only to agents or actions) have some hearings with border control employees and experts that can debate and help us decide WHERE and IF walls work to meet objectives. Do this and my guess is far less than $5.7B is needed. And they may prefer technology to physical barriers. Debate the actual issue and Dems will get a political win and the Trumpites will get an education on reality.

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