President Donald Trump has blamed Congress over and over for the family separation crisis at the border, demanding they come up with a legislative fix. Then on Friday morning, he tweeted at Hill Republicans to stop “wasting” their time on an immigration bill until after the midterm elections.
Trump blamed Democrats for an embarrassing collapse inside the Republican conference on Thursday, when Republicans failed to get enough of their own members on board to pass their “compromise” immigration bill and delayed the vote yet again. They couldn’t get another more conservative bill off the ground either, which would have extended DACA while gutting the nation’s legal immigration system.
Trump claimed the problem is numbers, but the Republicans hold a majority in the House.
Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018
At least one Republican lawmaker in the House has attributed the chaos in negotiations to a lack of clarity in what Trump’s administration wants to see Congress do.
“I don’t understand where the administration is right now on this issue,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said.
Trump’s tweet misrepresents what’s going on with immigration on the Hill. Here’s what to know about it:
- House Republicans haven’t passed an immigration reform bill because they can’t agree on what they want a bill to do.
- That’s left House Republicans stuck in Phase 1: Find consensus among their own ranks. Democrats are not involved in these conversations, a strategy House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated explicitly.
- Democrats already support a handful of bipartisan immigration proposals. Those aren’t anywhere near what a majority of House Republicans would support, and House Republican leaders aren’t even willing to consider them.
- In the Senate, meanwhile, talks have kicked off to address the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy, which has separated more than 2,300 migrant children from their families. Republicans would need nine Democrats to join them to pass a bill.
- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was sent to the Capitol Wednesday — just one day before Trump’s tweet — to tell Congress that the administration wants them to do something about immigration, specifically on family separation. The 180-degree turn in 24 hours speaks to the confusion over what the administration wants.
- Lastly, let’s talk about this “red wave” Trump is tweeting about. There’s no question that the congressional map is better for Republicans than for Democrats in 2018. But that map is shrinking quickly. Trump’s unpopularity has taken a toll on the Republican Party, and as we have seen in primary elections, special elections, and statewide races, Democrats are enthusiastic to come out and take control of at least one chamber of Congress. Even congressional Republicans are warning voters about a potential “blue wave” — not a red one.
- All to say, Trump seems to be out of line with his administration and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill — and perhaps misreading the political climate in the United States.