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The American Independent

Panicked White House aides feared senators would "trick" Trump into signing bipartisan deal

An incompetent White House struggles to control an unstable president.

By Eric Boehlert - January 16, 2018

Nervous that an impressionable Donald Trump would agree to sign a reasonable, bipartisan deal on immigration — a deal that would have helped avoid a government shutdown — hawkish White House aides last week made sure to blow up the now-famous Oval Office Thursday meeting.

That was the meeting where a clearly riled up Trump said he wanted to stop accepting immigrants from “shithole” — meaning, predominantly black — countries.

According to a new Washington Post report, the contentious sit-down also featured lots of shouting, swearing, and Trump insulting the Congressional Black Caucus, as he made it plain he didn’t care what its members thought about immigration.

What’s so stunning about the meeting is that anti-immigration aides were reportedly panicked that Trump was on the verge of agreeing to a bipartisan deal with a group of three Republican senators and three Democrats, including Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

“Some White House officials, including conservative adviser Stephen Miller, feared that Graham and Durbin would try to trick Trump into signing a bill that was damaging to him and would hurt him with his political base,” the Post reports. “As word trickled out Thursday morning on Capitol Hill that Durbin and Graham were heading over to the White House, legislative affairs director Marc Short began to make calls to lawmakers and shared many of Miller’s concerns.”

What soon unfolded, with Trump surrounded by anti-immigration enforcements and all “fired up,” was a meeting that was “short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing.”

The net result is that there is very little chance this week any kind of deal will be struck to protect those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, established under President Barack Obama, which Trump has ordered ended.

DACA protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants, or DREAMers, who were brought to America at a young age by their parents.

The government will shut down at midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass yet another short-term spending bill. Democrats are threatening to block any spending passage if nothing is done about the DREAMers.

Republican senators are now publicly at odds over what was said at the meeting. Caught in the middle is Graham, who had emerged in recent weeks as Trump’s close ally and golfing partner.

Two days prior to the sabotaged meeting, Trump had announced on national television that he was willing to sign whatever deal was brought to him. “I’ll sign it,” he said as the cameras rolled.

It’s the latest example of a White House that remains incompetent and unable to adhere to any kind of agenda with a president who is unstable and unpredictable.

“White House officials had a solid game plan for January: do a long tax-cut victory lap, avoid a government shutdown and swing a DACA deal,” Axios notes. “Instead, Trump became preoccupied with a gossipy book and the treachery of Steve Bannon, made repeated bizarre public statements about his mental health, misrepresented crucial national security legislation, and sent immigration talks down a ‘shithole.'”

Now Trump has to dig out of that hole.

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