The almost hour-long live on-camera discussion of DACA and immigration Trump had at the White House today with congressional leaders was at once genius, and very worrisome.

First, the genius part.

Having the networks broadcast extensive coverage of Trump being “presidential” was an amazing counter-narrative to the demented line pushed by Democrats and the media that Trump is a bumbling idiot who barely can string more than 3 words together and should be removed under the 25th Amendment. People got to watch him in action running a meeting and in control, the master of ceremonies presiding over the congressional leadership from both parties.

It must have killed CNN to have to admit Trump was in control:

Trump also came across as conciliatory, again contrary to the media narrative. While the media foams at the mouth about how Trump foams at the mouth, Trump came across as the most reasonable person in the room. A uniter, not a divider.

It also was a divide and conquer move, though not on the surface. To the Democratic base, seeing Democrat leadership at the table joking around with and hobnobbing with Trump must have sent blood pressures through the roof. Trump lured the Democrat leadership into a group hug, and thereby exacerbated the bitter divide in the Democratic Party between the Bernie-wing and the establishment.

Trump also only had one unmovable demand: Funding for the wall. The Wall is symbolic in so many ways – a campaign promise that energized crowds, and a non-starter for open border Democrats. The Democrat establishment thus is face with the choice of alienating its base by funding The Wall, or alienating its base by not striking a DACA deal because it wouldn’t fund the wall.

So at many levels, it was a genius political move.


As I was watching it, all I could keep thinking was, “here comes amnesty.”

The code words were all there, particularly “comprehensive immigration reform.”

The political dividing line is “pathway to citizenship.” If that’s in either a DACA bill or ultimate comprehensive reform, it’s amnesty. And it’s what the old Gang of 8 members still want.

Trump said he’ll “take the heat.”

The “best” view I can take of this is that a DACA deal gets done without amnesty now, since Trump has dangled something bigger down the road, and in exchange Dems have to agree to fund the Wall and other substantial restrictions on chain migration and so on. Then nothing happens on “comprehensive” immigration reform.

The “worst” view is that the Amnesty Train is rolling down the tracks, and to use a metaphor from the campaign, Trump will shoot his core campaign promise on immigration in the middle of 5th Avenue, figuring his base will stick with him anyway.