The Slatest

Report: Trump Set to Sabotage Own DACA Deal by Putting Stephen Miller in Charge of Negotiations

Stephen Miller with Sarah Huckbaee Sanders at the White House on Aug. 2.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Politico has a scoop: The White House’s preparations for negotiations over the DACA deal that Donald Trump tentatively struck with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in September are being led by adviser Stephen Miller, who is such an anti-immigrant zealot that you could plausibly describe him as a white nationalist. From Politico:

The White House is finalizing a plan to demand hardline immigration reforms in exchange for supporting a fix on the DACA program, according to three people familiar with the talks – an approach that risks alienating Democrats and even many Republicans, potentially tanking any deal.

The White House proposal is being crafted by Stephen Miller, the administration’s top immigration adviser, and includes cutting legal immigration by half over the next decade, an idea that’s already been panned by lawmakers in both parties.

As Politico notes, Miller’s goals are so diametrically opposed to Democrats’—and extreme even when compared with most Republicans’, given that he wants to drastically reduce legal immigration—that the most likely result of his involvement in the process is that it will fail. Here, then, is a timeline of Trump’s DACA positions:

  • Said he’d deport all undocumented immigrants, with no exceptions.
  • Implied he’d come up with some sort of exemption for DACA beneficiaries by praising them as “incredible kids” and promising to treat them “with heart.”
  • Made the widely unpopular move to end DACA without putting a backup plan in place.
  • Alienated his right-wing supporters by subsequently agreeing with Democrats to create a permanent grand-bargain legislative resolution to the issue.
  • Sabotaged the grand-bargain bargaining process by putting Stephen Miller in charge of it.

It’s not surprising, of course, that a politician would change positions on a controversial issue. But flip-flopping is supposed to benefit the politician who does it, at least in the short term. Trump, by contrast, has flopped about in such a way that seems almost intentionally designed to alienate as many people as possible while highlighting his own inability to pass major legislation.

It’s the same thing he did during the Affordable Care Act repeal process: Browbeating House Republicans into passing an unpopular bill by appealing to their loyalty, then betraying them by calling the bill “mean” and heartless in a meeting with senators, then attacking one of the Republican senators who subsequently pushed to make it more generous.

ACA repeal efforts, of course, failed, and the administration’s tax reform push seems likely to fail too, because the White House has made too many promises about what it will accomplish. (Trump has reportedly already started badmouthing his own team’s tax reform plan in a sort of pre-emptive kiss of death.) For all the damage the #resistance and the Fake News Media have done to Trump’s presidency, its most effective enemy sits in the Oval Office.