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Quote of the Day: Don the Con, the Jello President

2018-01-20

Today’s quote comes from a New York Times article about the negotiations between Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer over lunch on Friday.  Apparently, Mr. Schumer thought he had a deal when lunch was over, but Mr. Kelly called him later and said that the deal was off “because it didn’t contain enough restrictions on immigration.” 

It would seem that Don is not in charge at the White House if he can orally negotiate a deal to avoid a government shutdown and address all the issues that Democrats are concerned about, but then be overruled by a phone call from his Chief of Staff.  I personally  fear that Don is really not in charge; Killer Kelly is known to be to the right of Don the Con on immigration, especially, and the Killer felt that Don gave away too much to Schumer. 

What strikes me as bizarre is just what “immigration restrictions” Kelly thinks need to be added to a bill that requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass.  Whatever it was that he needed cut off or “restricted” could have been done by executive order if it was constitutional. 

More likely, he wanted to do something like end birthright citizenship or chain immigration, items that far right xenophobic Republicans hate.  If he did those things by executive order, they’d be stopped by the courts, so they would have to be ordained by law– not just any law, but one that averts a filibuster.

Here is the nut of the problem– Republicans want, in exchange for the DACA provision, to end birthright citizenship or chain immigration (or something equally radical, at least symbolically)– and they’re willing to run out the clock on DACA or even shut down the government to force the Democrats to go along. 

That is the “reasoning” behind the “shithole” language: two far-right Congressmen (with Kelly’s connivance) pressured Don into making an incoherent, off-the-cuff rant about “shithole” countries and telling the bipartisan conference committee (for that is what the meeting was supposed to be, with three Congressmen from each party) to “take out” Haiti. 

They did this partly by presenting Don with a list of the numbers and national origins of the people who had immigrated to this country in the last year– information for which he had no context.  For example, did he know the historical rates of immigration from all countries; did he know what happened to people from various countries after they entered this country, what their economic status was or became, and so on? 

No.  He has neither any in-depth nor even a shallow knowledge of the topic, just prejudices based on half-heard Fox News scare stories.   He is simply not qualified to negotiate an immigration deal.

On Saturday, though, Mr. Schumer said that even members of the president’s party had by now recognized that Mr. Trump, a professed deal maker, was ill-equipped to strike a political compromise.
“What’s even more frustrating than President Trump’s intransigence is the way he seems amenable to these compromises before completely switching positions and backing off,” he said on the Senate floor. “Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O.”
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