Monday, January 15, 2018
Unfortunately, no trust!
This is starting to resemble a behavioral experiment from the 60s with Republicans ganging up on Dick Durbin and trying to convince him that he didn't hear what he heard last Thursday. There were at least ten persons in the room when Trump made his comments on immigration reform, including seven senators. Durbin was the lone Democrat.
After hearing the comments, Durbin immediately went public. After some time, Lindsey Graham, who is working with Durbin on a compromise solution to save DACA, supported him. But, no other Republican in the room would substantiate the comments, and on Sunday Dave Perdue and Tom Cotton flatly repudiated Dick Durbin's statement. This is a little odd because Friday the two conservative senators simply said they couldn't recall Trump saying "shithole countries." For his part, Trump has since said he wishes he had recorded the meeting, noting "unfortunately, no trust!"
This is quite telling. Did Trump honestly expect his comments to stay in the room, or was he setting up Dick Durbin and the Democrats for the fall on DACA? It's very clear Trump has no intention of signing off on any bill that protects DACA unless he gets a "down payment" on his wall. Durbin, acting on the behalf of Senate Democrats, was willing to give the president $1.5 billion toward the wall in exchange for his support on DACA. Apparently, this wasn't enough, so Trump went off on a tirade, which Durbin later aired to the public.
Senators Cotton and Perdue are staunchly against any compromise. They not only want zero tolerance toward illegal immigration but want to cut legal immigration in half, especially those coming in from south of the border. The other Republicans apparently fall somewhere in the middle and are keeping tight-lipped about the whole thing.
If this is some kind of negotiation strategy it is one of the strangest we have seen yet and not likely to get the Democrats on board the spending bill Republicans are trying to ram through Congress. This time they can't do it through budget reconciliation, so if Mitch wants to force a simple majority vote he would have to resort to the "nuclear option," which is not going to sit well with ranking Republicans like Lindsey Graham. Mitch only has two votes to spare.
The thing about DACA is that we are talking about kids here, relatively speaking anyway. Most Americans don't want to see kids made to pay for the errors of their parents. Also, most of the kids are now so thoroughly "Americanized" you couldn't tell them apart from any other kid in this country. But, Trump is so determined to get his wall that he will use anything to get it, including holding these "Dreamers" hostage.
This tells you a lot about the man. Imagine if it was his daughter or son being threatened with deportation. After all, Ivana and Melania are both immigrants, and mothers to four of his children. He is the son of an immigrant mother, who some argue arrived illegally from Scotland. Yet, he seems to have no feeling whatsoever for these kids who arrived in the country alone or with their parents, most at a very young age, and have since carved out good lives for themselves in America. They are nothing more than a bargaining chip to him.
Yet, in typical Trump fashion, he tries to make it look as though the Democrats are holding the "Dreamers" hostage by not signing off on a spending bill, which so far has no provision whatsoever for DACA children.
The cynicism is mindnumbing. Even more mindnumbing is why Republicans would play along with him. None of them really want this wall. There are many other ways to deal with illegal immigration. Yet, they continue to float out various figures they hope will appease our puerile president, and stand by him even when he says the most atrocious things.
It's hard to believe someone didn't catch Trump's words on his mobile phone, just as the Wall Street Journal recorded their conversation with Trump last week, forced to remind him what he said. As Joe Manchin later said, there is no reason to suspect Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham made this up, and every reason to suspect Donald Trump is lying. This wouldn't be the first time Trump was forced to eat his words. Only now, Dave Perdue and Tom Cotton will be made to eat them as well.
Yes, Donald, unfortunately no trust!