Actually, the President says it’s “probably dead,” so It’s either on life support, or the plug has been pulled and we’re waiting for the doctor to announce a time of death. Despite a large chasm between the President’s demand for border wall funding, and the Democrat response of “no way,” there did seem to be some chance that a deal could be constructed to legalize some 700,000 people currently ensnared in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Obama. That was last week, before the “sh–hole” comments broke loose.
CNN reports on where the dust is settling this week:
President Donald Trump again blamed Democrats on Sunday night for the stall in talks over a potential immigration deal as the threat of a government shutdown looms this Friday.
In remarks to reporters at a dinner photo opportunity with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said he is “ready and willing to make a deal” on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but he doesn’t believe Democrats want to reach an agreement.
“They don’t want security at the border,” Trump said. “We have people pouring in. They don’t want security at the border. They don’t want to stop drugs, and they want to take money away from our military, which we cannot do. So those are some of the sticking points.”
On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted similar criticisms of Democratic lawmakers, writing: “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”
In a second tweet a few minutes later, he wrote: “I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST.”
As expected, Trump is blaming Democrats for derailing the negotiations. Meanwhile, also as expected, Democrats blame the President for his comments last week about third world countries as being the catalyst for putting the negotiations on ice, according to the Washington Examiner:
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., refuted President Trump’s claims Sunday that Democrats didn’t want an immigration deal that fixed the Deferred Action over Child Arrivals program. The senator that lawmakers pushed for a deal and it was Trump’s responsibility to carry it over the finish line.
“Republicans and Democrats negotiated in good faith to reach a deal that gives you what you asked for in front of the country on Tuesday. It’s time to lead and support the bipartisan deal,” Durbin tweeted.
Republicans and Democrats negotiated in good faith to reach a deal that gives you what you asked for in front of the country on Tuesday. It’s time to lead and support the bipartisan deal. https://t.co/FJ8tqs1X6i
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) January 14, 2018
The senator was responding to a tweet by Trump Sunday in which the president argued that Democrats were not sincere in fixing the program and instead wanted an issue to use in the next election.
The truth here is that both sides actually have something to gain by not advancing a deal on DACA. During the televised negotiations last week, President Trump, in an off the cuff moment, said he’d sign “anything” that came to his desk if the Democrats and Republicans could work out a deal. Those few words sent conservative pundits ballistic, as we noted, and caused the White House to back-peddle and reassure Trump’s base that border wall funding is necessary to any deal, along with other immigration controls.
Democrats assuredly do want to solve the DACA problem and legalize the people stuck in this limbo status, but they too also need to keep their voters energized. In some respects, it’s easier to motivate the base during an election year when issues remain unresolved. The other problem is that Democrats will not, under any circumstances, walk into a deal which openly funds President Trump’s border wall. If it’s a choice between giving their base what they want, which is a DACA fix, or working to oppose something their base hates, they may choose the latter because it will be easier to stand on a moral ground in opposition to a deal if it also means opposing one of the President’s core campaign items.
Aside from the politics of the situation, there appears to be a sea change on the Republican side where many notable GOP officials have come to the President’s support, rather than distancing themselves as fast as possible. Several GOP leaders are pushing back on the “sh–hole” comments claiming that Trump didn’t say it:
Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue said Sunday that President Donald Trump did not use the phrase “sh–hole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform last week.
“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George, and I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation,” Perdue told moderator George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
During an Oval Office meeting on immigration Thursday, Trump expressed frustration with people coming to the United States from “sh–hole countries,” sources told CNN.
Trump has denied making the vulgar remarks, tweeting Friday: “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
Perdue on Sunday accused Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of spreading false information about what Trump said at the meeting and added that Trump has been misrepresented.
Durbin said Trump used “hate-filled, vile and racist” language in the meeting, according to the Chicago Tribune.
So the DACA saga continues while both sides volley back and forth in the media over whether the President is a racist. If you thought 2017 was explosive, it’s only the third week of 2018 and we already find ourselves in a DACA sh–storm, so to speak.