“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” Trump tweeted, forecasting that the GOP would gain seats in the midterm election.
Trump has shown consistent inconsistency on the proposal. Last Friday, he said during a television interview that he opposed it. Hours later, the White House reversed course, saying he supported it.
During a meeting with lawmakers earlier this week, Trump said he supported the bill “1,000 percent.”
The shifts offered another reminder to Republican lawmakers of Trump’s unreliability as a political partner. The president, uniquely capable of providing lawmakers with the political cover to take difficult votes on immigration, has hesitated to commit to legislation and often reversed himself after doing so.
The tweet comes at the end of a week in which the administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants crossing the border illegally, which has forced the separation of more than 2,300 migrant children from their parents, has prompted many of his GOP allies to split with the White House.
Trump, as he indicated in his tweet, believes a divisive debate over immigration will benefit his party in November’s midterm elections, and he has continued to claim that Democrats are to blame for the immigration impasse. Many rank-and-file Republicans, however, already facing a strong Democratic headwind and nervous about preserving their majorities, aren’t convinced.
The legislation in question, backed by Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), offered a potential vehicle for a long-term fix to the law under which immigrant families have been separated under the administration’s zero tolerance policy that went into effect last month.
As of Friday, the proposal was scheduled for a vote next week, although it already appeared to be unlikely to pass, largely because of divisions within the GOP. Some conservative Republicans have labeled the proposal an “amnesty” because it includes a potential path to citizenship for the so-called Dreamers — young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
Even prior to the president’s Friday morning tweet, the GOP leadership had struggled to whip up votes for the proposal. After the tweet, it seemed doomed.
“Game over,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) told CNN Friday shortly after Trump’s tweet.
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