Yes, that happened.
Donald Trump viciously insulted young immigrants during his State of the Union address, but in a speech at a congressional Republican retreat, he went an absurd step further.
Trump threw millions of lives into chaos when he rescinded President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, threatening to rip 800,000 recipients from their families to deport them from the only home they’ve ever known.
And he keeps twisting the knife. His administration has glibly held Dreamers hostage to extract concessions from Democrats, and Trump has repeatedly broken promises to honor bipartisan deals to fix the status of DACA recipients.
Sensing that he is badly losing public opinion on this issue, Trump has made absurd and insulting attempts to appropriate the term “Dreamers,” a term that comes from the the bipartisan DREAM Act that Congress has yet to pass, while begging Democrats to stop using the term.
During his SOTU speech, Trump said that “Americans are dreamers too,” before launching into a rant about immigrant crime.
Then on Thursday, at the congressional Republican retreat in West Virginia, Trump made his boldest and most absurd attempt to co-opt the name.
“I’ve been hearing about DACA for so many years,” he told the mostly white, mostly male crowd.
“Some people call it ‘Dreamers,’ it’s not dreamers,” Trump continued. “Don’t fall into that trap. It’s much different than Dreamers.”
He’s completely wrong. That’s exactly what DACA is: a program to protect Dreamers.
“And I said the other night, you know, we have Dreamers too,” he continued, a reference to his Tuesday night insult. “We have Dreamers in this country too.” The entire point of Dreamers, of course, is that they are in this country.
“We can’t forget our Dreamers,” Trump concluded, scanning the crowd. “I have a lot of Dreamers here.”
While these attacks on Dreamers are vicious and untrue, they are an encouraging sign that Trump knows he has lost the American people on the issue of protecting DACA recipients. No amount of desperate messaging to the contrary will change that. Dreamers are Americans.