When I wrote earlier this morning that an immigration deal was possible, I didn’t realize that President Trump was about to host a White House meeting on the very subject. What’s more, reporters were allowed in the room for the first hour, so we all got a view into where things stand. Here are some excerpts from CNN’s real-time coverage.
“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said….Trump added if the group presents him with a plan he does not like he would support it anyway. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m gonna do it. Because I respect them,” he said.
….Rep. Bob Goodlatte says he will introduce a bill that “addresses the DACA concerns” tomorrow….adding that legislatures hoped to “do it in a bipartisan fashion and put our best foot forward.” “It will address DACA in a permanent way, not a temporary short-term thing. We are going to address the border enforcement and security and the wall,” he said.
….Sen. Lindsey Graham, foreshadowing how he believes some conservatives will react to the DACA discussions unfolding on television, said he could “hear the drumbeat” on Fox News and that “right-wing radio and TV talk show hosts are going to beat the crap out of us.”
….President Trump told lawmakers he would provide political cover for them if they moved forward on comprehensive immigration reform….“I’ll take the heat. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’ll take all the heat you want to give me, and I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.”
….Here’s how Trump hopes to see things move: “We’ll do DACA and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon. We will take an hour off and start. I do believe that. Once we get DACA done and 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.“
Trump has a childlike belief that nothing is very complicated, but in this case he could be right. The Senate passed a comprehensive bill a few years ago, and it could serve as the outline for a new one. Getting the votes to pass it will be hard, but the policy part really isn’t all that complicated.
Most fascinating meeting I’ve been involved with in twenty plus years in politics.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 9, 2018