Departing for Florida to coordinate hurricane recovery efforts, the President stopped to brief reporters on the news of the day. Over the roar of helicopter engines, Mr Trump said he is working on a plan to save Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and implement “massive border controls”. Funding for the wall, he said, “will come later”.
Rumours of such a plan had swirled since the night before, when top congressional Democrats claimed they had reached an agreement with Mr Trump on DACA – an Obama-era policy that protects some childhood immigrants to the United States.
The deal, Democrats said, would enshrine protections of DACA into law. It would not contain funding for the border wall.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly pushed back, tweeting: “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”
But Mr Trump’s latest statement, in which he also promised “massive border security,” indicated that funding for the border wall was indeed off the table – for the moment.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
Working with Democrats to preserve DACA – especially without significant progress on the border wall – could be politically disastrous for Mr Trump. While most Americans support some form of protections for so-called “Dreamers,” the idea is highly unpopular with Mr Trump’s nationalist base.
One White House aide told Politico that if Mr Trump floundered on border security, conservatives would “revolt”. A headline on Breitbart, home to Mr Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, read: “Dems Declare Victory as Trump Caves on DACA”.
After the Associated Press broke the news of the deal last night, Republican Representative Steve King blasted the President on Twitter.
“If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” he wrote.
But working with Democrats – especially Senator Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy…