Trump contradicts self repeatedly in immigration meeting

President Donald Trump appeared to contradict himself multiple times in a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan gr...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 8:37 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 8:37 AM

President Donald Trump appeared to contradict himself multiple times in a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday -- a reflection of growing frustration from Capitol Hill about the lack of direction from the White House on the issue.

The President at times suggested he would be looking to sign everything from a stand-alone fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- set to expire in March -- to comprehensive immigration reform, often appearing to being guided by lawmakers in the room to modify his positions.

The Tuesday meeting came ahead of a January 19 government funding deadline

Press was allowed to record the session for nearly an hour

The comments came during a nearly hour-long conversation between the roughly two dozen lawmakers, the President and White House staff that the press was allowed to record -- a window into the difficult negotiations that still surround the issue of replacing DACA, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, and border security.

At the end of the session, Trump suggested that ultimately, he would sign whatever he was presented with.

"I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with," Trump said. "If they come to me with things I'm not in love with, I'm going to do it. Because I respect them."

Sens. Jeff Flake and James Lankford after the meeting both said the meeting was surprisingly helpful and they appreciated the President adding some clarity to the discussions, while noting hammering out the details remains to be worked out.

Lankford acknowledged that the meeting got "confusing," saying though Trump at the beginning defined "DACA" as a deal that included DACA plus border security and two other areas of reform, it was unclear during some parts of the meeting.

"It got confusing at times, in fact he said later, 'I just want a clean DACA and we'll do a comprehensive later,' and some of us said, 'Whoa, what do you mean by that?' And he came back to those four items," the Oklahoma Republican told reporters afterward.

The White House declared the meeting a success in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

"President Donald J. Trump just concluded a successful bipartisan and bicameral meeting on immigration reform," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement. "During the closed-door portion of the meeting, they reached an agreement to negotiate legislation that accomplishes critically needed reforms in four high-priority areas: border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy."

Asked during the White House briefing by CNN's Jim Acosta whether Trump is demanding border wall funding in exchange for a DACA deal, Sanders would only say: "The President wants border security."

Pressed again repeatedly, Sanders again insisted Trump wants "border security" funding -- but would not commit to the wall.

Trump's equivocation was the opposite of what lawmakers have long sought from the President. Republicans especially have pushed for the administration to draw clear lines around what would be a doable deal, giving them cover with the base to compromise and giving them leverage with Democrats to move the debate forward.

Asked if Tuesday provided the clarity that lawmakers have been asking for, Lankford said there was still more to be done.

"Oh no, there's still some room to go on it," he said. "They're continuing to get more and more clear on what they're putting out, we're getting closer and closer."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn made the point directly to Trump during the meeting, saying that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both told the President at a legislative retreat with Republicans over the weekend that only a bill with Trump's support would move forward for a vote.

"So, that's I think the picture that we need to be looking through, the lens we need to be looking through, not only what can we agree to among ourselves on a bipartisan basis, but what will you sign into law," Cornyn said. "Because we all want to get to a solution here and we realize the clock is ticking."

But details in the meeting were still hard to come by.

At one point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, suggested to Trump that Congress could pass the "Dream Act" alone, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and which has been Democrats' starting point demand, and then turn to comprehensive reform.

When Trump indicated he would agree to that, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said border security would have to be part of the package, prompting Trump to say that's what he thought Feinstein meant, and then a flurry of clarifications.

Trump said his version of a "clean" deal would include DACA, border security, ending "chain migration" or family-based migration, and ending the diversity visa lottery. But those issues are commonly thought to only be achievable in a comprehensive immigration deal.

Trump then both endorsed doing comprehensive immigration reform sooner and later.

Lawmakers working on a DACA deal have long fought to keep the bill narrow, saying adding more into it would only make it collapse under its own wait.

Trump said he would "take the heat" if lawmakers wanted to move toward comprehensive immigration reform, saying they were "not that far away" from it.

But then a few minutes later, Trump said DACA could come first and reform could come down the road, or immediately after.

"I think what we are all saying is we'll do DACA and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon, OK?" Trump said. "We'll take an hour off and start. I do believe that. Because once we get DACA done if it's done properly with security and everything else, if it's done properly, we have taken a big chunk of comprehensive out of the negotiations. I don't think it's going to be that complicated."

Since Trump decided to end DACA in September, lawmakers have been working to find a deal on the issue. The Tuesday meeting came ahead of a January 19 government funding deadline that Democrats are pushing to include DACA and a host of other issues.

This story has been updated to include additional developments.

Huntsville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Florence
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 56°
Fayetteville
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 56°
Decatur
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Scottsboro
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 51°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

 

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 857055

Reported Deaths: 12312
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby964521629
Davidson89674942
Knox51116636
Hamilton44570496
Rutherford43212437
Williamson28116217
Sumner24135349
Montgomery20402227
Wilson18907236
Out of TN1822399
Sullivan16952298
Unassigned16918134
Blount15559196
Bradley15100151
Washington14691245
Maury13545172
Sevier13451175
Putnam11437175
Madison11281241
Robertson9793132
Anderson8795171
Hamblen8632173
Greene7928156
Tipton7397104
Coffee6922123
Dickson6854113
Cumberland6769133
Carter6662158
Gibson6542146
McMinn654198
Bedford6522128
Roane6318105
Jefferson6244125
Loudon616469
Hawkins6161107
Lawrence598491
Monroe587596
Warren555581
Dyer5440106
Franklin516490
Fayette511878
Cheatham457856
Obion455096
Cocke452499
Lincoln437163
Rhea435775
Marshall420658
Campbell417463
Weakley416365
Giles4010100
Henderson380776
White368170
Carroll363483
Macon363178
Hardin358968
Hardeman353764
Henry320676
Lauderdale320244
Claiborne318873
Scott315245
Marion312847
Overton302561
Wayne297034
Hickman284746
McNairy284254
DeKalb280754
Smith278539
Haywood271562
Grainger263550
Morgan251339
Trousdale250622
Fentress243047
Johnson241939
Bledsoe215811
Chester215451
Polk208725
Unicoi204549
Crockett203549
Cannon192831
Union192234
Humphreys181528
Grundy179534
Sequatchie171829
Lake170526
Benton167340
Decatur159339
Lewis158426
Meigs139125
Stewart133028
Jackson132336
Clay110330
Houston109733
Perry107228
Moore101717
Van Buren85523
Pickett75924
Hancock59312

Community Events