by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2018
Steve Bannon is under the bus, and then the bus backed up. But no one is saying that the absence of the former chief strategist is the reason for President Donald Trump’s sudden change of tone on the subject of immigration. If the objective is strategic ambiguity, it is succeeding.
The president’s reference to a legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a “bill of love” was lauded by some of the very media the president routinely calls “fake news.”
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer praised Trump and his administration for opening up a Jan. 9 immigration reform meeting with lawmakers to the press.
Blitzer, speaking with his colleague Jim Acosta, said he had to give Trump “a lot of credit” for allowing press cameras to cover a nearly hour-long discussion during a “really remarkable meeting” with Republicans and Democrats.
Later in the day, capping an interview with White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short, Blitzer again heaped praise on the administration.
“Thank you for allowing that meeting today to be open to our TV cameras,” Blitzer told Short. “I think it was very productive, very important. Glad that we got to see the president and the Republicans and Democrats in action. Keep doing it.”
“We’ll keep doing it, Wolf,” Short replied.
Blitzer’s praise for Trump occurred just two days after a tense exchange on CNN between Jake Tapper and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, after which Miller was escorted off the set.
Scott Greer, deputy editor of the The Daily Caller, noted that “Trump has on numerous occasions sounded squishy on immigration, yet quickly returned to his hawkish stance. It happened during his presidential run, and it happened earlier in DACA talks as well.”
DACA, Greer wrote, “is a prime bargaining chip” and “the guy who wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ should know how to get something for it.”
During the Jan. 9 meeting, Trump said: “A clean DACA bill, to me, is a DACA bill where we take care of the 800,000 people. We take care of them and we also take care of security. That’s very important.”
Later, the president tweeted: “As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border, which must be part of any DACA approval.”
Greer wrote that “The president had to be reminded by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that bolstering border security must be part of any possible DACA deal. Trump appeared to agree with that.”
“No concrete DACA deal has been reached and anything can happen with the negotiations going forward,” Greer wrote. “But there’s a good reason why Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson and others are taking a grim view of the whole process.”
Coulter told Fox’s Lou Dobbs on Jan. 9 that “When Kevin McCarthy is the hardliner on immigration in the room, I think we can call this the lowest day in the Trump presidency.”
The Fox News commentators “Trump watches on a daily basis are going to turn on him if he surrenders on DACA,” Greer wrote. “Already, Tucker (Carlson) and others are sounding the alarm on the president’s DACA comments. Talk radio will also not give Trump a pass on this. These outlets are where Trump’s base gets their information from, and the base is not going to be pleased if illegals get permanent legalization but America gets no wall.”
On his Jan. 9 show on Fox, Carlson said: “In 2016, Donald Trump ran on the premise that America’s borders ought to be real. That the repeated amnesties of the past have betrayed voters and that this country deserves immigration policy that looks out for American interests rather than those of foreign countries. Almost nobody in Washington agreed with him at the time. Almost nobody in Washington agrees with him now.
“Congress is full of people from both parties who believe that the point of our immigration policy is to provide cheap labor to their donors and to atone for America’s imaginary sins against the world. They couldn’t care less about immigration’s effect on you or your family. Yet, these are the same people the president now says he trusts to write the immigration bills — the one he will sign no matter what it says. So, what was the point of running for president?
“You will remember the president also ran on his skills as a negotiator and he clearly has skills as a negotiator. Where were they today? The president signaled he’d be happy to legalize hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants now and that at some point in the future tackle all that other stuff like making sure they can’t bring millions of their relatives from the Third World along with them. That’s not much of a negotiation.”
Conservative radio host Mark Levin characterized Trump’s remarks that he would sign whatever DACA bill was delivered to him and not nitpick as “surrender.”
“That’s no ‘Art of the Deal,’ ” Levin said. “That’s complete surrender. Now, I suspect the president will realize that and try to walk some of that back, but that is very bad. And he did it in front of the media. He did it in front of the Democrats. The whole world heard it. Just give me something, and I’ll sign it. Are you kidding me? That’s what he said. I didn’t say it. That’s what the president said.”