During Tuesday night’s BuzzFeed Brews immigration forum, Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith noted that Republicans who were opposed the immigration reform bill declined multiple invitations to participate in the forum.
The event was sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute.
“I was a little surprised – we would have loved to have a screaming match with a conservative member of Congress,” Smith told U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, R-Texas, during the event. “But these guys are not eager — I understand that they may have been scared off by the ultra-liberal Koch Institute — but I was a little surprised about how shy they are.”
Smith suggested that Republican opposition to the bill was fading, noting that only five congressmen showed up to Rep. Steve King’s press anti-amnesty press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Smith also poked the Heritage Foundation for dropping out of the event, after the co-author of their study on the immigration reform bill resigned last week.
“We would have loved to have Heritage here but they are having a very rough time at the moment,” Smith explained.
The only person who did argue the anti-amnesty side was the Daily Caller’s Mickey Kaus — a Democrat.
Koch representatives who attended the event admitted they were disappointed that Republicans opposed to the immigration reform bill boycotted the event, but explained that they were happy with the members who agreed to be on the panel.
The Koch Institute reached out to BuzzFeed to do the event, once source explained, noting that it was important to promote the exchange of ideas in new venues.