Trump Uses NFL Player’s Death for Latest Border Security Push

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was allegedly killed by drunk driver who was undocumented immigrant

President Donald Trump commented on the death of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson in a series of tweets Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
President Donald Trump commented on the death of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson in a series of tweets Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:26am

President Donald Trump is not a stranger to responding controversially to tragedy. (He once patted himself on the back “for being right on radical Islamic terrorism” in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.)

The president used the death of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson to hammer Democrats for weakness on border security after authorities said the drunk driver who crashed into Jackson’s ride share was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala.

“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!”

Police said Manuel Orrego-Savala from Guatemala, the alleged drunk driver, was deported from the U.S. in 2007 and 2009. Along with Jackson, Orrego-Savala is accused of killing driver Jeffrey Monroe, who was driving an Uber Jackson had been a passenger in.

In a follow-up tweet, Trump gave his “prayers and best wishes” to Jackson’s family. Jackson was “a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken,” the president wrote.

Trump was not the only GOP politician to use Jackson’s death to renew calls for increased security along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Watch: Trump Touts Party Unity, Year One Accomplishments in Speech to GOP Retreat

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“We must do more to get these dangerous illegal immigrant criminals off of our streets, and guarantee this never happens again by building a wall, ending sanctuary cities, and stopping illegal immigration once and for all,” Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita said in a statement.

Rokita is running for the Republican nomination for Senate to challenge incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly later this year.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar also did not let Jackson’s death slip his notice.

“May God comfort the family of Edwin Jackson who was killed by a drunk illegal alien who never should have been here,” Gosar tweeted Monday.

Gosar made waves before the State of the Union address last week when he asked the U.S. Capitol Police and the Department of Justice to check invitees’ documents, arrest any “illegal aliens,” and deport them.

Democrats and Republicans have so far failed to negotiate a deal on immigration ahead of a looming government shutdown this week.

In exchange for concessions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Republicans have asked Democrats for billions of dollars to go toward increased border security.

Trump has said he will not sign anything that does not include funds for a wall along the southern border with Mexico.