Between Tweeting and Meetings, Trump Can’t Seem to Make up His Mind on Immigration Legislation

June 22, 2018, 10:02 PM UTC

Trump met with Republican lawmakers in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, where he allegedly said he supports passing an immigration bill. Then, in a pair of Friday morning tweets, President Trump said GOP lawmakers should “stop wasting their time” trying to pass an immigration bill before the November midterm elections, assuming there will be a “Red Wave” of Republican victories.

The tweets are confounding, especially in light of comments by members of Congress. After a Tuesday night meeting, some said Trump seemed to support any legislation. Others, like Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), said that the president endorsed both immigration bill options, particularly the compromise bill. “He said he was behind it 1,000%,” Meadows said.

And now as of Friday, the president seems to have fully retracted any support previously given.

This isn’t the first time the president has changed his position on immigration within a span of days. In January, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) harshly criticized the administration for Trump’s reversal of support within two days.

“Tuesday, the president was in a good place. He was the president of all of us,” Graham told MSNBC on the Friday of that week. “He spoke compassionately about immigration, tough on security, wanted bipartisanship. Two days later, there was a major change.”

Then, it seemed White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was the voice behind Trump’s change of opinion. Today, however, Trump’s tweets seemed to have no other agenda than to push for a Republican victory in November.

A conservative bill was rejected by the House on Thursday, and a compromise bill was set for a Friday vote—until Trump’s lack of support caused it to be postponed until next week.

“We’ll work through the weekend and you’ll see that bill on the floor next week,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on Friday, despite the president’s call for a halt in immigration legislation.

According to some aids, the bill is well short of the support it needs to pass next week, and has been since before Trump’s change of heart. While McCarthy aims to move forward, other lawmakers have expressed frustration at the setback Trump’s words have caused.

Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC) told CNN that Trump’s tweets amount to “game over” for any immigration bill at this point. “It takes the wind out of the sails in what might have been a fairly productive week in terms of looking for a compromise,” he said.