The “Stable Genius” At Work

Ken AshfordImmigration and Xenophobia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

With Trump’s mental stability the subject of much talk lately, some equally unintelligent person thought it would be a good idea to show the President negotiating with Congress about immigration issue — LIVE.  You know, so everyone could see that Trump is as excellent and in control as he tells everyone he is.

Yeah, right.

The Washington Post picks up the story:

White House officials made the unusual decision Tuesday to allow cameras to film a nearly hour-long immigration meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. They probably wish they hadn’t.

For a moment, Democrats thought they had struck an unexpected deal with President Trump. Trump had previously insisted that any deal protecting “dreamers” — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — should also include border security and/or a border wall. But he now says that he would support a “clean” bill protecting dreamers, and then take up comprehensive immigration reform later.

“What about a clean DACA bill now, with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?” asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Trump responded: “Yeah, I would like to do that. I think a lot of people would like to see that.”

The problem? Trump didn’t know what “clean DACA bill” meant. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) quickly interjected and made clear that Trump believes a “clean” bill would include border security. Except that’s not at all what a clean bill is; that’s a compromise bill. A clean bill, by definition, only has one component to it.

By the end, Trump sought to clarify things. “I think a clean DACA bill to me is a DACA bill, but we take care of the 800,000 people,” he said. “But I think to me, a clean bill is a bill of DACA — we take care of them, and we also take care of security.”

If anything, the whole mess showed pretty vividly just how utterly disengaged Trump is in the finer details of policy discussions. Which is exactly the perception that he has recently fought against.

***

Even by the end of the meeting, Trump seemed to indicate that the border wall isn’t necessarily a must-have for him — becoming just the latest iteration in a dizzying series of back-and-forths on what he wants in a DACA deal.

“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said. He added: “I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, gee, I want this,’ or ‘I want that.’ I will be signing it.”

Okay, so you’re no longer demanding the border wall or even border security, then?

Look. It’s fine if the President does not want to get into the finer nuances of immigration policy. But if the exercise was to show that Trump had a grasp of the issues, or that he was able to move the ball forward in any significant way and broker some “breakthrough”, then it was an objective failure.

And it certainly did not dismiss any concerns about his competency.

Who in the White House thought this was a good idea? Trump himself?

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