Trump dealt a blow to Republicans in search of political cover for November.
Trump told Republicans not to bother with a legislative fix for the family separation tragedy he started — undercutting virtually every Republican talking point that’s been aired since the the government began ripping families apart at the border.
“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” he tweeted. “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!”
The human suffering Trump has inflicted extends beyond the disrupted families caught in the new “zero tolerance” enforcement push. It also includes the nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and were permitted to remain here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump abruptly rescinded last year.
In both cases, Trump and his team have made it clear they’re using the separated families and the Dreamer youth as bargaining chips in hopes of securing money from Congress for the border wall he promised Mexico would pay for.
When asked what it would take to continue Dreamer protection, Trump’s then-budget director Mick Mulvaney once callously announced, “Again, depends on what we get in exchange. What do we get for border security? What do we get for a wall?”
With the families being separated and Dreamers, Trump has insisted Congress could fix the chaos he helped unleash. But now, even those attempts at exploitation seem to be over, with Trump calling on Congress to stop even trying.
Trump’s caustic dismissal comes days after he had been “privately calling rank-and-file members to urge them to pass an immigration measure,” according to Politico.
His public reversal now effectively ends any Republican attempt to pass a bill they claimed would help alleviate the immigration trauma.
Why does that matter politically?
So-called Republican moderates, facing a possible blue wave in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016, had been desperately trying to force House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule votes that would allow them to support legislation to support the Dreamers protection program, which remains overwhelmingly popular with voters.
With the immigration vote now unlikely to take place, not only are vulnerable Republicans exposed on the Dreamers issue come November, but they’re also part of the party that supports tearing families apart.
It’s not as if Republicans were on any sort of path to legislative success before Trump threw the process under the bus. And it’s not as if the GOP bill would have effectively cleaned up Trump’s any of Trump’s messes.
As has become his custom on key votes, Ryan simply couldn’t generate support within his own caucus to pass bills with the needed 218 votes, since Democrats remains universally opposed to GOP initiatives.
Originally, the vote on the immigration bill Ryan is pushing was supposed to take place Thursday, then postponed until Friday, then kicked into next week.
Now, with Trump calling the shots, there’s little chance the vote will ever take place.
Time and again Trump has purposefully inflicted pain with sweeping and unnecessary edicts targeted at immigrant families. Now he’s demanding Congress not even bother try to fix the mess.