The first thing you always have to keep in mind is that you literally cannot believe anything Donald Trump says. He is a pathological liar who will tell whomever he is speaking to whatever they want to hear, and minutes later deny he ever said it. He frequently contradicts himself, sometimes even in the same sentence. You really cannot negotiate with someone like this because his word is not his bond and there is no morality or sense of honor to hold him to a commitment he has given.
So this happened last night. Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA:
Democratic leaders on Wednesday night declared that they had a deal with President Trump to quickly extend protections for young undocumented immigrants and to finalize a border security package that does not include the president’s proposed wall.
The Democrats, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, said in a joint statement that they had a “very productive” dinner meeting with the president at the White House that focused on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” they said.
Less than 20 minuts later, White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted this after the internet began reporting the news:
Mr. Schumer’s communications director, Matt House, fired back on Twitter: “The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.”
Trump and the White House responded Thursday morning that there was, in fact, “no deal.” But it turns out there, well, basically is. The White House’s non-denial denials on its DACA deal with Democrats:
Here’s what Trump tweeted:
First off: Well, of course it’s “subject to vote.” Every deal is. And Schumer and Pelosi didn’t claim that the details on border security had been worked out. I read their comments more like “A deal has been reached in principle.”
As for the principles of that deal — and specifically the border wall — this is really a non-denial denial from Trump. He says the wall will “continue to be built,” but he doesn’t say that it must be part of the deal. Democrats didn’t claim the wall renovation would be halted in the deal or anything like that; they simply said the new deal would not include more funding for the wall, which Trump has promised. This, again, seems to be Trump stating the obvious.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was a little more definitive in a statement. “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” she said shortly after Trump’s tweets went out.
Okay, but if the wall part was “certainly not agreed to,” that seems to suggest the rest of it … was? And it’s nearly impossible to believe that Democrats would have agreed to anything that further funds that wall. That’s a red line for them, period. Excluding it would have to be part of any deal.
Update: And as he often has, Trump completely contradicted his spokesman on this in a matter of hours. “The wall will come later,” he said after emerging from his White House residence. He added that they are “fairly close” to a deal along the lines of what Pelosi and Schumer said.
Pelosi and Schumer, meanwhile, agree that Trump’s comments don’t change anything. “President Trump’s tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night,” they said in a just-released statement. “As we said last night, there was no final deal. …”
[H]ere we have the president basically defending a deal that he says hasn’t been reached.
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The White House’s responses Thursday morning seem to be more an effort to cover their own hides with the base than anything else.
Back to the initial Times report above:
Hard-liners in Congress were flummoxed by word of a potential deal on DACA, one that could push some of Mr. Trump’s electoral base away from him.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, wrote on Twitter that if the reports were true, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.” The website Breitbart, run by Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, had the headline “Amnesty Don.”
Some Republicans were more receptive. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent critic of the president, said on Twitter: “Kudos to @POTUS for pursuing agreement that will protect #Dreamers from deportation.” The young immigrants are often referred to as Dreamers.
Before the dinner on Wednesday night, prospects for quickly enacting a replacement for DACA had appeared to be flagging in Congress. Action to Protect Young Immigrants Already Stumbles in Congress:
A week after concerned Republicans promised quick work to shield young, undocumented immigrants from President Trump’s decision to end their federal protections, lawmakers have tied themselves in knots trying to figure out how to proceed — with only six months to find a way forward.
If anything, advocates for immigrants brought to this country as children may have lost ground.
Representative Mike Coffman, Republican of Colorado, pulled back a petition he had initiated to force the House to take up legislation to protect so-called Dreamers. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into the issue was canceled this week. And Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would not move on any such legislation before he addressed criminal alien gangs and border security.
“With all the other things going on right now, it’s kind of put on the back burner,” Mr. Coffman conceded.
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Mr. Goodlatte said this week that he would hold no DACA hearings until border security legislation is drafted.
Instead, this week the House will take up the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, aimed at MS-13 and other immigrant gangs, and the Legal Workforce Act to expand electronic worker verification efforts. Mr. Goodlatte said he would follow those bills with legislation dealing with immigrant agricultural workers.
“We are happy to have discussions with anybody who wants to talk about what we need to do with DACA, but I would say DACA is at the end of that list, not at the beginning,” said Mr. Goodlatte in an interview. “We can’t fix the DACA problem without fixing all of the issues that led to the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place.”
The result of last night’s White House dinner is that Trump’s die-hard supporters are fuming after an apparent about-face on ‘dreamers’:
Staunch conservative allies of President Trump have erupted in anger and incredulity after Democrats late Wednesday announced that the president had agreed to pursue a legislative deal that would protect thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation but not secure Trump’s signature campaign promise: building a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Nearing midnight and into Thursday, social media accounts came alive as elected officials and activists on the right dashed off tweets and posts to share their shock.
And in between those posts, there was a flurry of fuming calls and text messages — a blaring political fire alarm among Trump’s die-hard supporters.
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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the GOP’s biggest immigration hawks, issued a dramatic warning to the president after he scrolled through news reports.
“If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” King tweeted, referencing an Associated Press story on the bipartisan agreement.
He added, “No promise is credible.”
Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who is friendly with Trump, mocked him for seeming to shelve the pledge that has animated his supporters since his campaign’s launch.
“Exactly what @realDonaldTrump campaigned on. Not,” Ingraham wrote on Twitter. She later added, “BUILD THE WALL! BUILD THE WALL! … or … maybe … not really.”
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Conservative polemicist Ann Coulter, who wrote a book titled “In Trump We Trust”, did not buy the president’s explanation.
“At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?” Coulter tweeted on Thursday morning.
Breitbart News, the conservative website now run by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, quickly became a gathering place for aggrieved Trump backers. Readers congregated by the thousands in the comments section for an article with a bright red headline: “Amnesty Don.”
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“This a betrayal of the highest order,” a Breitbart editor, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said in a phone call late Wednesday. “Donald Trump should be ashamed of himself. He wasn’t elected to do this.”
The editor was mostly echoed by the site’s readers:
“Put a fork in Trump. He is done.”
“What a HUGE let down.”
“I can reconcile Trump caving on virtually any issue, Amnesty and not building the wall are not one of them.”
* * *
“Deep State Wins, Huge Loss for #MAGA,” Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs tweeted, alluding to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
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Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is in regular contact with Trump, directed his ire over the developments not at the president but at GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
“Well Mitch GREAT JOB!” Hannity tweeted, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “You failed so miserably with Healthcare and ‘excessive expectations’ now @POTUS has to deal with Dem Leaders!”
Hannity added later, “I blame R’s. They caused this. They wanted him to fail and now pushed him into arms of political suicide — IF TRUE.”
The late evening headlines today: Trump Confirms Support for Law to Protect ‘Dreamers’:
Mr. Trump’s comments, both in Washington and in Florida, affirmed the broad parameters of an agreement that Democratic leaders unilaterally announced Wednesday night after dinner with the president at the White House.
In remarks to reporters as he left the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump said, “We’re working on a plan for DACA,” referring to protections for immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He confirmed, “the wall will come later.”
Mr. Trump’s comments seemed to contradict his own Twitter posts early Thursday morning when he said, “no deal was made last night on DACA.” But they were very much in line with Democratic leaders’ statements.
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Republican leaders were contacted after the fact. In a curt statement, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, confirmed that the president called him Thursday morning to discuss immigration issues.
“As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues,” he said.
And the GOP crazy base goes, well crazy, again. Conservatives Recoil at Trump’s Accommodation With Democrats Over DACA:
President Trump came under withering attack on Thursday from some of his strongest supporters, who were outraged and unforgiving about his decision to set aside, for now, a fight over building the border wall he has long promised as part of a deal with Democrats on legislation to protect young, undocumented immigrants.
No promise was more central to his campaign than building the border wall. And no constituency was more passionate in defending Mr. Trump’s pledge than the conservatives who believed he would be uncompromising in his approach toward illegal immigration.
The condemnation was swift and came from many different conservative corners: members of his own party in Congress, his most steadfast boosters on talk radio and the grass roots.
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Amid all the political controversy, legal peril and everyday disarray inside the Trump White House, one question has been at the front of the minds of the many Republicans across the country whose fates are linked to the president’s: How much more would his base tolerate? If Mr. Trump’s deal with the Democrats did not immediately provide a clear answer, it did seem to reinforce how the long leash his supporters have granted him is being reined in.
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On conservative talk radio programs Thursday morning, listeners called in to voice their disapproval. Some said Mr. Trump had confirmed what they suspected all along about the insincerity of his conservative convictions. Others said the president, a self-proclaimed master negotiator, had been rolled by the Democrats. The comments mostly added up to a damning conclusion: Mr. Trump had tricked his voters.
“I always figured Trump would go Schwarzenegger on us,” said one caller into the Hugh Hewitt program, invoking the former California governor whom many conservatives believed sold them out.
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[Trump’s] sudden embrace of politicians that Republicans have spent years fighting in intense political combat — especially Ms. Pelosi, whom Republicans have made into an avatar for the liberal, coastal elite — sowed confusion and seemed to raise questions about how effectively Republicans could continue to demonize the people they assumed were their sworn enemies.
“Republicans have spent so much time and money targeting Nancy Pelosi as the enemy over the last few cycles, the idea that you’re now going do a deal with her has to rub people the wrong way,” said Russ Schriefer, a Republican consultant who has worked for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. “Doesn’t it hurt all these Republican congressmen who want to use her as the liberal foil in their campaigns?”
“It is just confusing,” Mr. Schriefer added.
We live in interesting times.