Trump Denies He Struck A Deal With Democrats On DACA

by Joseph D. Lyons
Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A Washington, D.C., version of The Art of the Deal seemed to have played out to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in Congress and keep Dreamers in the country — at least according to Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday evening. But not so fast. President Trump denied striking a deal with Democrats on DACA early Thursday in a series of tweets insisting that "massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent."

The top two Democrats had said the compromise would include border security but no wall. Trump, however, claimed that the wall — "which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls," he tweeted — will continue to be built.

But then, seemingly agreeing with what the Dems laid out, Trump tweeted in favor of the young people who would be spared by any forthcoming deal. "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!" Trump tweeted. "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security."

It could be that Trump is trying to placate his own base after news of the DACA deal came out. Wednesday night, and even following his tweets on Thursday, the main headline on Breitbart, the right wing website led by former Senior White House Adviser Steve Bannon, read "Amnesty Don." They also did a follow-up story noting that the wording was trending on Twitter in Washington, D.C.

This pushback came after the Dems made a statement following a Wednesday night dinner with the president. "We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. "The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides."

Even before Trump tweeted out the clarification, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was already pushing back against the idea of a deal, especially one that excluded the border wall. "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to," she wrote on Twitter.

Republican lawmakers ran the gamut responding to the Democrats. Hyper conservative Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has been known to make anti-immigrant, racist statements, attacked the president for not keeping his word. "If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible," King tweeted.

On the other end of the spectrum was Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, again also a Republican. He welcomed the deal. "Kudos to @POTUS for pursuing agreement that will protect #Dreamers from deportation," Flake wrote on Twitter. Senate and House leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have yet to release a statement; they would need to be willing to bring the measure to a vote in their respective chambers. They were not at the dinner where the deal was allegedly agreed upon.

Trump has been accused as having worked more with Democrats in recent weeks than Republicans after he came to an agreement with Dems on hurricane aid and raising the debt ceiling. The New York Times even ran a piece on him marking the end to two-party rule. That does not seem to be the case any longer.

"The president is the leader of the Republican Party and was elected by Republicans," Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday. "He beat out 16 other candidates to take that mantle on, and certainly, I think, is one of the strongest voices. And so the idea that the Republican Party ideas are not represented in that room is just ridiculous."

The passage of any potential DACA solution could clear up where Trump stands.