You know it’s a bad screw-up by POTUS when Ted Cruz is scrambling to dunk on it. Replete with a “swamp” jab, no less.
Cruz is highly loyal to Trump but he’s more highly loyal to his own presidential ambitions, and those ambitions require out-populist-ing the Cottons and Hawleys in 2024. If that means seizing an easy opportunity to get to Trump’s right on the ultimate populist issue of immigration then that’s what it means.
Here’s the clip from Trump’s upcoming interview with Noticias Telemundo. What the hell is he talking about?
Trump: “One of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We are going to have a road to citizenship.” pic.twitter.com/M926cty8A1
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 10, 2020
He said “road to citizenship” twice. “Not even the Obama administration thought it had the authority to give DACA recipients a path to citizenship,” notes Gabe Malor, correctly.
Did he mean a path to legal status? Or is he talking about some sort of grand bargain he’s planning to propose to Democrats in which DACA enrollees will be given a path to citizenship legislatively in exchange for Trump getting some goodies?
He can’t mean that. Democrats are already measuring the drapes. They have no incentive to make a deal with him now. And Trump would have to be insane to pursue any form of amnesty — especially one involving citizenship — this close to the election knowing how it’s destined to royally piss off the Coulter/Carlson nationalist wing of the party.
Don’t get me wrong, amnesty for DACA members is very popular among the general public. But it’s not so salient an issue at this point that taking an interest in it might meaningfully ease Trump’s electoral problems the way, say, a better COVID response would. If anything, it’ll deepen his problems by giving righty populists a reason to distrust him, even if what he’s trying to say here is “path to legal status.”
What is he thinking? Malor’s theory is as good as any I’ve got: “In light of Trump’s word salad on DACA, I think we can’t discount the possibility that he was just saying things he thought Diaz-Balart wanted to hear. This is, after all, only his second interview with a Spanish-language TV journalist (it was Diaz-Balart last time too).” Is that it? Was he attuned to the fact that he was being interviewed by Noticias Telemundo and figured he’d play to his audience by ad libbing a little light “road to citizenship” talk? Time for another cognitive test, I think.