From the beginning of his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump has displayed a pattern of bigotry and hatred toward people of color. His campaign announcement speech famously smeared Mexicans as criminals and rapists. So the vulgar insult directed and Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries” should not come as much of a surprise to those who have been paying attention.
Of particular interest to Trump has been the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected immigrants brought into the United States as children. Trump has occasionally expressed a rather disingenuous support for the program, despite his refusal to take any positive action to preserve it. In fact, last year he unilaterally repealed it by executive action. At the time he pretended to be concerned about the plight of the DACA recipients (Dreamers), but claimed that it would be up to Congress to resolve the matter. He tweeted that:
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
Four months later Trump found himself in a controversy over his blatantly racist remarks during a meeting with members of Congress. So naturally his reaction was to deflect from the reality of the situation and, blame others for the problem, and make the innocent suffer:
DACA is probably dead because the Democrats donÃ¢ÂÂt really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018
To put the onus on Congress for the problem he created is just plain ludicrous. And it’s made all the worse by the comments he made during the meeting wherein he explicitly deferred to the will of Congress to settle on a bipartisan solution (which they did, but he rejected):
“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. I am very much reliant on the people in this room. I know most of the people on both sides. I have a lot of respect for the people on both sides. And my — what I approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with. I have great confidence in the people. If they come to me with things that I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it because I respect them.”
So Trump was committing to accept whatever Congress agreed on. But when presented with that agreement he told them to go to hell. And then there was this exchange with Sen. Diane Feinstein:
Feinstein: What about a clean DACA bill now, with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?
Trump: […] We’re going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive. I would like to do that. Go ahead. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.
Trump was quickly interrupted by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy who frantically sought to correct the President’s miscomprehension of the Republican position on this issue. But it was clear that Trump still didn’t understand where he went wrong after McCarthy’s correction.
It took two days before Trump was sufficiently schooled on his “mistake” to offer any further comments. And the direction he chose to go was to threaten the total demise of DACA and preposterously blame it on Democrats. Even worse, he implied an absurd connection to military funding as a related victim of the dispute. He’s trying to smear Democrats as anti-military even though it has nothing to do with DACA.
That’s just his knee-jerk reaction to any controversy. He thinks if he cites some other popular theme (military or law enforcement, the flag or national anthem, America first, MAGA) he can stir up support from his dimwitted base. And the sad thing about that is that he’s right. In the meantime, let’s not gloss over the fact that Trump has shut the door on DACA for his own partisan and racist reasons.