Trump rejects, then supports House immigration bill

That there is confusion and chaos surrounding Donald Trump's position on the House immigration bills that could be voted on next week is not surprising. But even for the Trump White House, the head-snapping, 180 degree switch in the president's stance on the immigration bills that will probably come to a vote next week is unusual.

On Friday, it appeared immigration reform in the House was dead when Trump categorically rejected the most popular proposal.

CNN:

 

President Donald Trump on Friday morning delivered a potentially fatal blow to a compromise immigration bill under development in the House.

Trump said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" that he is not planning to sign the negotiated measure.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump said when asked about the two bills teed up for votes next week -- the compromise and a conservative-preferred bill. "I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch-and-release."

That was Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, aides were walking back the president's rejection:

President Trump ignited eleventh-hour confusion Friday over Republican efforts to push immigration legislation through the House, saying he wouldn't sign a "moderate" package. The White House later walked back the comments, formally endorsing the measure and saying Trump had been confused.

The campaign-season tumult erupted as GOP leaders put finishing touches on a pair of Republican bills: a hard-right proposal and a middle-ground plan negotiated by the party's conservative and moderate wings, with White House input. Only the compromise bill would open a door to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and reduce the separation of children from their parents when families are detained crossing the border — a practice that has drawn bipartisan condemnation in recent days.

Trump has always said he wanted to do something about the DREAMers. As for separating kids from their parents at the border, his attorney general has been going around the country defending it. Perhaps Jeff Sessions didn't get the memo.

But a senior White House official later said Trump had misspoken and believed his Fox interviewer was asking about an effort by GOP moderates — abandoned for now — that would have forced votes on a handful of bills and likely led to House passage of liberal-leaning versions party leaders oppose. The official, who was not authorized to discuss internal conversations by name, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The interviewer had specifically asked whether Trump supported a conservative bill penned by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., o or "something more moderate," and asked whether he'd sign "either one."

The White House later put out a statement formally endorsing the measure.

"The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill," said White House spokesman Raj Shah, adding that Trump would sign "either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills."

Trump also weighed in by tweet, writing that any bill "MUST HAVE" provisions financing his proposed wall with Mexico and curbing the existing legal immigration system. Those items are included in the middle-ground package.

Speaker Ryan has promised to bring both bills to the floor for a vote, though it's unclear whether there will be enough Democrats to help pass the "moderate" alternative. There are many House Democrats who have sworn never to vote to fund Trump's border wall. But with long-sought protection of DREAMers and reform of the child separation policy, Democrats may take the bait and vote for it.

That Trump was "confused" about which proposal he was talking about may have been the product of misunderstanding an interviewer's question. Or it may have been a careless, off the cuff remark. Whatever the reason, it raises the question: What will Trump's position on the immigration bills be tomorrow?

 

Monica Showalter adds:

That's exactly the point, President Trump keeps his opponents on their backfoot. This essay, by FrontPage's Daniel Greenfield pretty well explains the Trumpian tactic. The only people who don't like it are those who are already in opposition to Trump, because what he's doing is making them uncomfortable with the uncertainty he churns for them. The rest of us can reasonably infer, based on Trump's past decisions, that he is unlikely to turn on us to please Democrats and achieve cocktail party status invitations. Trump is the cocktail party.

That there is confusion and chaos surrounding Donald Trump's position on the House immigration bills that could be voted on next week is not surprising. But even for the Trump White House, the head-snapping, 180 degree switch in the president's stance on the immigration bills that will probably come to a vote next week is unusual.

On Friday, it appeared immigration reform in the House was dead when Trump categorically rejected the most popular proposal.

CNN:

 

President Donald Trump on Friday morning delivered a potentially fatal blow to a compromise immigration bill under development in the House.

Trump said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" that he is not planning to sign the negotiated measure.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump said when asked about the two bills teed up for votes next week -- the compromise and a conservative-preferred bill. "I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch-and-release."

That was Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, aides were walking back the president's rejection:

President Trump ignited eleventh-hour confusion Friday over Republican efforts to push immigration legislation through the House, saying he wouldn't sign a "moderate" package. The White House later walked back the comments, formally endorsing the measure and saying Trump had been confused.

The campaign-season tumult erupted as GOP leaders put finishing touches on a pair of Republican bills: a hard-right proposal and a middle-ground plan negotiated by the party's conservative and moderate wings, with White House input. Only the compromise bill would open a door to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and reduce the separation of children from their parents when families are detained crossing the border — a practice that has drawn bipartisan condemnation in recent days.

Trump has always said he wanted to do something about the DREAMers. As for separating kids from their parents at the border, his attorney general has been going around the country defending it. Perhaps Jeff Sessions didn't get the memo.

But a senior White House official later said Trump had misspoken and believed his Fox interviewer was asking about an effort by GOP moderates — abandoned for now — that would have forced votes on a handful of bills and likely led to House passage of liberal-leaning versions party leaders oppose. The official, who was not authorized to discuss internal conversations by name, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The interviewer had specifically asked whether Trump supported a conservative bill penned by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., o or "something more moderate," and asked whether he'd sign "either one."

The White House later put out a statement formally endorsing the measure.

"The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill," said White House spokesman Raj Shah, adding that Trump would sign "either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills."

Trump also weighed in by tweet, writing that any bill "MUST HAVE" provisions financing his proposed wall with Mexico and curbing the existing legal immigration system. Those items are included in the middle-ground package.

Speaker Ryan has promised to bring both bills to the floor for a vote, though it's unclear whether there will be enough Democrats to help pass the "moderate" alternative. There are many House Democrats who have sworn never to vote to fund Trump's border wall. But with long-sought protection of DREAMers and reform of the child separation policy, Democrats may take the bait and vote for it.

That Trump was "confused" about which proposal he was talking about may have been the product of misunderstanding an interviewer's question. Or it may have been a careless, off the cuff remark. Whatever the reason, it raises the question: What will Trump's position on the immigration bills be tomorrow?

 

Monica Showalter adds:

That's exactly the point, President Trump keeps his opponents on their backfoot. This essay, by FrontPage's Daniel Greenfield pretty well explains the Trumpian tactic. The only people who don't like it are those who are already in opposition to Trump, because what he's doing is making them uncomfortable with the uncertainty he churns for them. The rest of us can reasonably infer, based on Trump's past decisions, that he is unlikely to turn on us to please Democrats and achieve cocktail party status invitations. Trump is the cocktail party.