ABC News

Rep. Mike Turner, a top House Republican, on Sunday said he disagreed with former President Donald Trump calling some migrants “not people” and “animals” but insisted that only Trump “is going to be able to fix this crisis” at the southern border.

Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Turner placed the blame for the high rate of migration into the U.S. on President Joe Biden, who has said that he needs Congress to help him do more to address the border.

But “when you talk about what’s happening at the border, this is absolutely a crisis that’s created by this administration,” Turner argued, going on to cite warnings from the FBI about “dangerous” people entering the U.S. across the border.

While the Ohio lawmaker wanted to focus on Biden’s immigration policies, “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz pressed him for his views on Trump’s latest disparaging comments about migrants.

“I’ve disagreed with those in the past, and I think the American people disagree with those. But I do think that people see that Donald Trump is the only candidate in this race that’s going to be able to fix this crisis,” Turner said.

He noted he was not present at the Saturday event in Vandalia, Ohio — in Turner’s home district — in which Trump, boosting a Senate candidate aligned with him, attacked some immigrants and called people jailed for their actions on Jan. 6, 2021, “hostages.”

Turner, who is supporting a different candidate than Trump in the Ohio GOP Senate primary, said he disagreed with that characterization as well.

“I believe in our judicial system,” he said, though he also referenced some court actions related to the Capitol riot that were “overturned.”

“You would think, of course, that Donald Trump would have very strong emotional feelings about the individuals who have been in jail and gone to prison over these,” he said.

Of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, Turner said, “I think, certainly, there are statements that he makes that many Americans would not agree with and many Americans would agree with it.”

Turner, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, separately also defended legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House last week which would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the popular social media platform or face it being banned in the U.S.

Casting the issue as part of a “battle between authoritarianism and democracy,” Turner said Beijing has sought a “greater surveillance society” and that American data obtained through TikTok could be used much in the way China “uses [social media] to control its own population.”

TikTok insists that fears over data breaches are unfounded, in part because U.S user traffic is managed in the U.S. “outside the reach or influence of any foreign government.” ByteDance adamantly opposes the divest-or-ban legislation.

Turner on “This Week” pointed out that China has blocked X, Facebook and YouTube and said the U.S. should move forward with the legislation to force a sale of TikTok for national security reasons.

While “there are great concerns about the individual privacy and issues of data,” Turner said his “greatest concern” is TikTok being used as a “propaganda tool … able to manipulate a society.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.