Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen [Email him] who wrote speeches for Bush 44, thinks that Donald Trump’s offering an amnesty for Dreamers in exchange for vague promises on border security is “quintessentially presidential.”
Only in Bush-land—“read my lips, no new taxes”—is breaking a promise presidential.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Trump offered to support not just legal status, but a path to citizenship for nearly two million illegal immigrants—the “dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own—if Democrats would agree to fund his border wall and limit chain migration.
It is a remarkable offer that goes far beyond the expected granting of legal status to DACA recipients. And it has outraged many of Trump’s core supporters. Breitbart declared Trump “Amnesty Don” and said that supporters were calling his proposal an act of “political incompetence, malpractice, greed, betrayal, and self-mutilation.”
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the hardline Center for Immigration Studies, complained that Trump “promoted his amnesty proposal as legalizing more illegal aliens than Obama’s DACA program, as though that’s a good thing.” Dan Horowitz, editor of Conservative Review, called Trump’s plan “the Self-Impeachment Act of 2018.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, “I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally” and described Trump’s offer as “inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us.” Heritage Action declared that his plan “should be a non-starter.”
Trump is doing something quintessentially presidential: He is taking on his own base in an effort to do something big and bipartisan for the good of the nation. That is what great leaders do.
Trump’s putative betrayal of the base, Thiessen adds, is “statesmanship.”
Of course, Thiessen begs the question on one thing. Who says an amnesty is “good for the nation?” The beneficiaries and their supporters like Thiessen, of course!