The “wall” becomes fence “renovation,” “amnesty” becomes “DACA,” and “Nancy and Chuck” become President Trump’s new best friends.
The world according to Donald J. Trump is a constantly shifting place, filled with tenuous alliances and mind-twisting deals that may be more or less than they appear at first glance.
In pursuing a deal with Democrats on hot-button immigration issues, Trump is challenging forces in both parties in ways that are fundamental to their identities.
Trump seems poised to shelve his signature campaign promise — the “big, beautiful wall,” which Mexico would pay for — to legalize the status of some 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children, known as Dreamers.
“The wall will come later,” Trump told reporters this morning, after saying that he is “fairly close” to a deal with Congress that would permanently help the Dreamers and bring “massive border security.”
Asked if he favors amnesty for the Dreamers, Trump replied, “The word is DACA,” referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The contours of the emerging understanding (deal?) were determined over Chinese food at the White House with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who are enjoying newfound status as go-to dealmakers for the Trump White House.
The fact that top congressional Republicans were sidelined speaks to the political danger for Trump in defying a large chunk of his base. He is setting aside a key campaign promise in the interest of a proposal that immigration hard-liners consider an apostasy.
“Amnesty Don,” declared a Breitbart News headline. “THE ART OF THE STEAL,” tweeted conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who added that “amnesty” should come instead for the “American working class.”
Permanent legal residency for Dreamers was something Barack Obama was unable to achieve when he was president. It would happen over the policy objections of even Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Just nine days ago, Sessions declared that DACA had to end in part because the policy “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”
On the Democrats’ side of the aisle, for all their enthusiasm, dealing with Trump carries risks for them as well. The party base has developed a muscle memory for opposition to a president who many in the party believe to be unqualified and inherently dangerous, not to mention unreliable…