Two events occurred yesterday that should raise serious concerns about this administration regardless of one’s party or ideology.
The first occurred during a White House meeting with congressional leadership where attendees expected to debate various policy issues facing the nation in the next calendar year. Chief among them, comprehensive immigration reform and the looming deadline of the controversial DACA policy. If congress failed to act by March 1st 800,000 “Dreamers” brought into this country illegally by their parents would be deported.
What made this leadership meeting different than most is that the small “pool spray” of reporters were allowed to stay and film 50 plus minutes of the debate. Normally a small number of reporters are allowed in to tape the proceedings for a only a very few minutes before being ushered out the door. But the president allowed the media to stay and they were more than happy to record the events in real time.
In the aftermath, speculation among the talking heads was the president was still smarting from accusations in the Michael Wolff tell-all that he was mentally unfit to run the government. The president wanted the media and the world to see the “deal maker” at his best; in complete control of his faculties, negotiating a deal on behalf of the American people. What better way than to allow the media to tape the proceedings.
If that in fact was the administration’s intent it backfired spectacularly. If anything, the president’s performance gave credence to Wolff’s assertions of incompetence.
The subject on the table was immigration reform. At first the president stunningly agreed with the Democrat’s position as proposed by Dianne Feinstein. Trump was willing to fix the DACA problem without getting anything in return A “clean” DACA bill without attachments. A position that no doubt caused Republican heads to explode. Democrats in the room were wide eyed in amazement. Republicans were clearly stunned.
Once Republicans regained their faculties they scrambled to rein the president in. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy almost grabbed the president to get his attention, telling the president that he had misunderstood Feinstein’s proposal. McCarthy offered on behalf of the president that surely what he meant to say was he would agree to a DACA fix but only if it included additional border security and his long promised wall. It was like a grandchild directing a doddering grandparent through a conversation. Much to the relief of the Republicans, the president responded by agreeing with McCarthy…a direct contradiction to what he had agreed to only seconds earlier.
Then as if to add insult to injury on the subject of competence…the president ended the immigration conversation by saying the he respected everyone in the room and out of respect for them he would support whatever immigration policy they brought to him to sign.
Clean DACA fix with out any attachments…DACA fix but only if it includes increased border security and the wall…whatever you guys decide I’ll support.
A stunning, head snapping reversal of a key policy provision; all within mere minutes.
It is clear from this display that this president was out of his depth on one of his key campaign promises. Competency aside…anyone watching the president’s behavior in that moment can no longer dispute that president Trump has zero ideological beliefs. He just wants a win and will agree with just about anything to get it.
The second event is perhaps even more troubling than the first.
The White House typically provides the press with a transcribed read-out of such meetings. In the read-out for this meeting the White House omitted the section where the president initially agreed to a clean DACA fix.
This administration has made a habit in dealing in the realm of “alternative facts.” Just because you see it and hear it doesn’t mean it happened. What is real is what we tell you is real.
One has to ask…if this White House is willing to brazenly cover up something so clearly caught on tape…what else are they covering up?