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August 24, 2016

Byron York: Team Trump Has Made a Mess of Immigration

I agree -- it seems to me this new "softening" is lose-lose. It will antagonize his supporters, while not winning over a single skeptic. After all, Trump lost most people not on policy per se, but based on making a very defensible and sensible policy seem ugly and bigoted. Changing the policy will not fix that. (Having explained the policy smartly the first time, having done his homework and having realized achieving a major shift in the nation's thinking would take some patient explaining, would have been the right way to go.)

Trump's speaking shortly in Florida and we can expect him to make more of a dog's breakfast of the whole issue. While we wait, Here's York-- and no, York is not a #NeverTrumper. I'd say York has been mildly pro-Trump throughout the campaign.

One thing is certain in the current brouhaha over Donald Trump's immigration proposals: the candidate and his top aides are making a mess of things. What is the status of his old proposal to deport all immigrants who are in the United States illegally? After days of Trump and his senior advisers talking about it, the answer is entirely unclear.

The fundamental problem vexing Team Trump is that the deportation proposal was never really clear. Yes, Trump said it often last year, but he also pointedly left it out of many immigration discussions, as well. It went largely unnoticed, for example, that when Trump posted an immigration position paper on his campaign website last year, it had a lot about a border wall and enhanced enforcement — and nothing at all about mass deportations.

Many of the statements from Trump being played in current coverage of the deportation issue date from November 2015. This year — not so much.

Trump has held many, many rallies in which he talked about building the wall — he's talked about it so much that it is now a call-and-response with some audiences. But at the same events he said nothing about deportations.


Back in January, not long before the Iowa caucuses, I interviewed Trump and asked whether the deportation proposal was some sort of bargaining chip, rather than a set policy. This is our exchange:

QUESTION: I read Art of the Deal. And one of the things you write about is you have to be bold, you have to make a splash, you have to attract attention. You've also talked about compromise. There was a time you said there's nothing wrong with compromise — you just ask for about three times what you want, and then you get what you want. So I look at deporting all illegal immigrants. I look at a temporary ban of Muslims coming to the United States. They get a lot of attention. Are they opening positions in a negotiation?

TRUMP: I'm not saying there can't be some give and take, but at some point we have to look at these things. You look at the radical Islamic terrorism and you look at what's going on, we have to take a serious look. There's tremendous hatred. You look at illegal immigration and all that's taking place with respect to illegal immigration, whether it's the crime or the economy, I mean, it affects many different elements. It doesn't mean I'm hard and fast 100 percent, but we to get a lot of what I'm asking for, or we're not going to have a country any more.

QUESTION: So they are opening positions?

TRUMP: They are very strong positions. It doesn't mean you're not going to negotiate a little bit, but I guess there will always be some negotiation. But they are very strong positions, and I would adhere to those positions very strongly. That doesn't mean that at some point we won't talk a little bit about some negotiation. Who wouldn't do that?

What did that mean, precisely? Trump deliberately left that unclear, but he wanted to stress that whatever he did would be strong.

I've said this before, but Trump's attitude is the attitude of the Salesman, where the only thing that matters is to get them to sign on the line which is dotted. It doesn't matter if you've been unclear on terms (or even deceptive); all that can be worked out in lawsuits later. The only thing that matters is saying, promising whatever it takes to get them to sign.

The problem is, it's not just the sale that matters. That might be where you make your commission, but the buyer is expecting delivery of the goods he contracted to buy.

And that's where the problems start.

I was always told "underpromise, overdeliver." I guess Trump kinda takes the opposite position.

It really would have been better if Trump bothered to actually think about these issues before he began shooting his mouth off.


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posted by Ace at 01:33 PM

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