Sunday, January 21, 2018


I think President Trump is a racist and an instinctual immigration hardliner -- but I also think he's sincere about wanting a DACA deal. I don't think he grasps the fact that those positions are contrary, because he rarely thinks hard about his political positions. He seems to be more flexible on immigration than his frequently racist, hardline rhetoric suggests -- or he would be if hardliners didn't intervene to prevent him from compromising.

Here's a story from The Washington Post about what happened after the televised portion of that meeting with members of Congress a couple of weeks ago:
After the president ordered cameras out of the Cabinet Room that day, the group delved into the details. Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s homeland security secretary, and her staff passed out a four-page document on the administration’s “must haves” for any immigration bill — a hard-line list that included $18 billion for Trump’s promised border wall, eliminating the diversity visa lottery program and ending “extended family chain migration,” according to the document, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

But one person seemed surprised and alarmed by the memo: the president.

With Democrats and Republicans still in the room, Trump said that the document didn’t represent all of his positions, that he wasn’t familiar with its contents and that he didn’t appreciate being caught off-guard. He instructed the group to disregard the summary and move on....
They don't want him to waver. This time they failed, but of course they subsequently nudged him when he was on the verge of a deal and he blew the deal up because he objected to immigration from "shithole countries." What did they say to him to get him in that frame of mind?

And then as the shutdown deadline approached he nearly sealed another deal, this time with Chuck Schumer. NBC's Kasie Hunt reports:

The Post reports that it was Mitch McConnell who urged Kelly to scupper the deal.
[Schumer] left the meeting buoyed, telling others that Trump seemed willing to strike a deal.

But as the day wore on, McConnell urged Kelly to not give in. Worried White House aides began making calls to their counterparts on the Hill, assuring them that Trump wouldn’t “give away the store,” in the words of one top Republican aide. The president summoned Meadows and Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho), another member of the Freedom Caucus, to the Oval Office for a long meeting, even as aides to Trump and Schumer discussed possible deals in writing.

... At [one] point, Kelly called Schumer, telling the Democrat that his immigration proposal was too liberal and would not work for the administration.

Schumer wondered aloud to his members about what, exactly, had changed.
Right-wingers say there a liberal, anti-Trump "Deep State" working to survert Trump and to prevent him from governing. In fact, there is "Deep State" -- but it's made up of White House aides, Republican members of Congress, and others who subvert the president's will. Sometimes they sneak around him; at other times they play on one of his instincts in order to prevent him from acting on one of his other instincts. Their efforts have surely prevented catastrophes, maybe even World War III, and it's probably unfair to say that Trump is being subverted when much of the manipulation is happening right under his nose.

Sometimes the Trump saboteurs are a force for good. On DACA, however, they're clearly evil. In any case, they're the real secret government, the ones who aren't letting Trump be Trump.

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