Trump’s DACA Decision Could Be Political Suicide

Last week, in “‘A One-Way Trip Back To The Shadows’: What Trump’s Dreamers Decision Really Means,'” we weighed in on Donald Trump’s imminent decision on DACA and how, stripped of the feeble attempts to spin it, the decision to end the Obama-era program is nothing more than a thinly-veiled effort on the part of the President to pander to whatever’s left of his base.

The following quote from Trump underscores the extent to which the White House is actually trying to piggyback on the xenophobia that lies seething beneath the President’s populist platform:

DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases. In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids, I would say mostly.

I mean, just try to imagine saying that if you were President and you were attempting to explain how difficult a decision this is for you. It would be like saying: “cancer-stricken people are a very, very difficult subject for me, although to be fair, some people with cancer have probably committed crimes in their lives, so you know, not all of them are good people.”

Let’s just step back from the moral depravity for a second and think about this from a purely strategic perspective.

Yes, there’s a kinda, sorta deadline for this decision thanks to 10 states that have threatened to sue the government if it doesn’t stop protecting people brought into the country illegally as children (note: Tennessee pulled out of that effort on Friday, apparently aware of the bad optics). But obviously Trump isn’t obliged to heed that threat. He could take that risk in the interest of not igniting another racially-charged, political firestorm just weeks after he threw gasoline on the blaze his bungled response to Charlottesville created by pardoning Joe Arpaio.

It’s no longer clear that pandering to the base with controversial decisions is a good strategy. Trump’s plunging approval rating suggests that the electorate is quickly losing its patience and ending DACA will just be one more straw on the back of a camel that’s looking pretty weak in the knees.

Of course one issue here is that Steve Bannon has all but threatened to turn Trump’s base against him if he doesn’t stick to the nationalist agenda that helped whip large swaths of the country into a firestorm.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and recently departed chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon have advocated a hard-line immigration stance with the president, including ending DACA,” WaPo notes on Monday before reminding you that “during the campaign, Trump vowed to end DACA immediately.”

“Good” folks like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) are pushing hard, even going so far as to suggest that if Trump goes ahead with a plan to attach a six-month delay to DACA’s demise, it would be “Republican suicide.”

You remember Steve, right? Steve is the man who earlier this year tweeted his support for the agenda of Geert Wilders, a bigoted basket case whose PVV at the time stood a very good chance at marshaling an outsized percentage of the Dutch vote. Specifically, King said this:


Yeah. And guess who absolutely loved King’s “somebody else’s babies” remark? That’s right, Trump supporter and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke:


And see, that right there is a nice exercise in connecting the dots. This isn’t, contrary to what you’ll read from some Right-wing pundits, an effort to unfairly characterize Trump’s campaign promises as racist and emblematic of a dangerous ideology. There’s nothing “unfair” about the coverage. This just is what it is. And drawing a straight line from Steve King’s position on DACA to his infamous “somebody else’s babies” tweet along with David Duke’s endorsement underscores that point. Remember, that would be the same David Duke who, “reporting” live from Charlottesville, told CNN on national television that he was in Virginia to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

Well anyway, here are some excerpts from the Politico piece that first tweet from King references:

President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises.

The administration’s deliberations on the issue have been fluid and fast moving, and the president has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program.

In a nod to reservations held by many lawmakers, the White House plans to delay the enforcement of the president’s decision for six months, giving Congress a window to act, according to one White House official. But a senior White House aide said that chief of staff John Kelly, who has been running the West Wing policy process on the issue, “thinks Congress should’ve gotten its act together a lot longer ago.”

The president’s expected decision is likely to shore up his base, which rallied behind his broader campaign message about the importance of enforcing the country’s immigration laws and securing the border. At the same time, the president’s decision is likely to be one of the most contentious of his early administration, opposed by leaders of both parties and by the political establishment more broadly.

The White House and Congress have tried to pass the issue off on each other – with each arguing that the other is responsible for determining the fate of the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are benefiting from DACA. Though most Republicans believe that rolling back DACA is a solid legal decision, they are conscious of the difficult emotional terrain. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch joined Ryan in cautioning Trump against rolling back the program.

So irrespective of whether you support Trump and/or the elimination of DACA, just know that this will be a political disaster for the President.

It would have been contentious enough without the Charlottesville fiasco and the Arpaio pardon, but in light of those two boondoggles, this is going to be criticized mercilessly.

That’s the last thing Trump needs right now. But as you know, this is a man who has made a habit out of doing his best Plaxico Burress impression.

Ultimately, Steve King is probably wrong. The real political “suicide” here for Trump would be ending this program.


Here is the letter that announces Tennessee’s decision to back away from the effort to bring legal action against the government…


4 thoughts on “Trump’s DACA Decision Could Be Political Suicide

  1. Interesting move on his part, although the contents of his letter is internally irreconcilable. However, he got his cake and get to eat as well. He won on DAPA. Then he moved on DACA. Just before Trump’s about to announce on DACA, Slatery makes a record that he’s Mr. Nice & Reasonable Guy for the special kids by withdrawing from the suit knowing that nine other AGs will continue with the case. I see through him as Draghi saw through the inflation numbers in Sintra albeit with greater success.

    Interesting side note, except for Tennessee, every state elects their Attorney General. The Supreme Court of Tennessee appoints its state’s attorney general to an eight years term. Slatery has never held elected office.

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