Trump Backpedals on Amnesty Deal After Massive Blowback from Base
President, facing outrage from conservative grass roots, reaffirms commitment to wall, denies pact with Dems
In a political he-said, she-said, Democrats claimed late Wednesday they reached a deal with President Donald Trump to pass permanent legal status for so-called “dreamers” in return for some border security measures — but no wall. Caught off-balance by intense blowback from his own base, Trump insisted there was no such bargain.
“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that unconstitutionally allowed 690,000 illegal aliens to remain here temporarily while receiving work permits and government benefits.
As fury from populist-conservatives continued regarding any permanence of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, beneficiaries of which are called dreamers, Trump reiterated his commitment Thursday afternoon to building a wall on the nation’s southern border.
"We have to be sure the wall isn't obstructed, because without the wall, I wouldn't do anything. … It doesn't have to be here, but they can't obstruct the wall if it's in a budget or anything else," he told reporters in Florida. The president added that he would "only do it if we get extreme security, not only surveillance but everything that goes with surveillance ... If there's not a wall, we're doing nothing."
Reports of a grand amnesty bargain with Democrats brought swift and intense backlash from the president's base.
On "The Laura Ingraham Show" Thursday, caller after caller railed against Trump's potential DACA deal. The disappointment — and anger — was palpable.
"This is the most absolute betrayal," said Barret from Washington State. "You thought that George Bush's 'Read my lips, no new taxes' [was bad]; this is 10 times that on steroids, I guarantee it," he said.
Rob from Connecticut said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is owed an apology.
"I just want to say that we shouldn't be surprised because all during the primaries we had 'lyin' Ted' telling us that Donald Trump is lying about the wall, he's lying about amnesty, and we were laughing at Ted Cruz," said Rob. "We should be apologizing to him right now and saying, 'Thank you for warning us, and we're sorry we didn't believe you.'"
Numerous callers said that Trump's tough stance on illegal aliens was a primary reason they voted for him.
"I voted for Trump for one reason only, and that was for immigration, and I'm thoroughly disgusted," said Rachel in Arizona.
"This morning I have PTSD — Pelosi Trump Schumer Disorder," said one caller named Jody. "I am done if they don't build the wall," she said. "I said if he does two things I'll vote for him again in four years — build the wall and appoint Supreme Court conservative justices, but it takes both. I'm done if he doesn't build the wall."
That some of Trump's most ardent former supporters are ready to jump ship after less than a year illustrates the extent to which any potential DACA deal with Democrats would be a serious mistake for Trump heading into the 2018 midterm elections.
"He asked if we wanted to throw out the good, educated dreamers," said Marie in Florida, in reference to one of Trump's Thursday tweets. "The answer is yes. The hard-working Americans want them gone, and if these illegals are so great and accomplished, send them back to Mexico where they can make Mexico great again."
'I'm outraged," said Pete in Arizona. "I've been a Trump supporter from the very beginning, since the primaries, and he is isolating himself from his base, and we're not going to take it."
"I didn't vote for his personality, I voted for policies and a platform, and if he's going to depart from those policies and promises, I'm done with the Pence-Trump ticket," said Susan from Indiana.
"Build the wall or lose my support," said a caller named Brian.
It's clear that Trump's supporters feel betrayed, frustrated, and above all fearful for America's future. They are no longer sure that the man who campaigned on making America great again has the will or desire to do so.
"When I look at Trump, I voted for him because he got on that stage and he played smash-mouth politics — he got up there and … he said that he was going to fight for the American people, he was going to fight for the middle class and the lower class," said caller Jeff. "I voted for him primarily because of his immigration and economic policies,[yet] here it is now he's bowing to the Establishment."
The reaction from hard-line immigration activists and experts tracked the feelings from grass-roots voters.
"Trump deserves as much disdain as we can muster to push back against his very clear and documented effort to plot an amnesty with Democrats," William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration political action committee, told LifeZette's Brendan Kirby on Thursday.
(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Michael Candelori, Flickr)