Author: FRANCESCA CHAMBERS
President Trump insisted on Friday that his administration is just following the rules established by the Obama administration when it comes to separating families at the border.
‘That’s the law and that’s what the Democrats gave us and we’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate but the just don’t want to negotiate,’ the president told Fox & Friends this morning.
Trump nearly derailed an effort in the House to bring two immigration bills to the floor, one from moderates and one from conservatives, in the impromptu interview on the North Lawn of the White House during a live a broadcast of his favorite morning program.
The president said he would not sign a ‘moderate ‘bill on immigration that was still being negotiated and would provide $25 billion for his wall and give 1.8 million illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a pathway to citizenship.
A White House official later explained that the president ‘misunderstood’ the question.
Hour later Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah also clarified that Trump ‘fully supports’ both pieces of legislation.
President Trump insisted on Friday that his administration is just following the rules established by the Obama administration when it comes to separating families at the border
That’s the law and that’s what the Democrats gave us and we’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate but the just don’t want to negotiate,’ the president told Fox & Friends on Friday morning
The legislation in question exists only in the form of an outline for a compromise bill in the House of Representatives that would also put an end to the diversity visa lottery that Trump loathes.
Included in that package would be a measure on family separation in immigration law.
Trump told Fox News that he most ‘certainly wouldn’t sign’ moderate legislation and would only look at a hardline conservative bill authored by House Rep. Bob Goodlatte that has been waiting in the wings in for months.
He said in a tweet on Friday after the interview crystallizing his position: ‘The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda.
‘Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!’ Trump said.
The president notably did not include the family separation issue in his list of demands, despite telling reporters this morning, ‘No, I hate it. I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.’
‘That’s the Democrats’ law. We can change it tonight. We can change it right now,’ he asserted.
Trump rebuffed a reporter who said that he could change the rules his administration has opted to follow as president, if not administratively, by ordering the Republican-run Congress to pass a law doing so.
‘We have a one-vote edge. We need 60. So we need 10 votes. We can’t get them from the Democrats,’ he said, referring to the U.S. Senate.
In the Senate, the GOP holds just 51 seats and needs 60 votes to pass major pieces of legislation.
The president said he is talking to Democrats about changing the laws pertaining to immigration.
‘The children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully, and immediately. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children,’ he said.
Trump told journalists who waiting to question him after his Fox interview, ‘We need a wall. We need border security. We got to get rid of catch-and-release. You catch a criminal, you take his name, you release him, and he never shows up again. He goes into our society, and then we end up getting him in a different way, oftentimes after he’s killed somebody.
‘We’ve got to change our laws. The Democrats have control because we don’t have the votes. The Republicans need — we need more Republicans, frankly. And that’s why I think we’re going to do so well in the midterms.’
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in remarks on Thursday at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast that the separation policy is ‘barbaric and unacceptable’ and not only is it ‘not American. It’s not faith-based.’
Trump said Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was just ‘following the law’ when he announced a zero-tolerance policy for family separation last month.
‘He’s following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats,’ he argued.
The president remained adamant during a question and answer with reporters that family separation is Democrats’ fault
There is no law that says families must be separated at the border, although that is how the Trump administration has interpreted rules that were already in place.
‘This was an act of the administration. They had been planning this for a while,’ Pelosi said Thursday. ‘I don’t see any prospect for any legislation here,’ she added.
On Friday, the president remained adamant during his question and answer with reporters that family separation is Democrats’ fault.
‘The Democrats gave us the laws. Now, I want the laws to be beautiful, humane, but strong. I don’t want bad people coming in. I don’t want drugs coming in. And we can solve that problem in one meeting. Tell the Democrats, your friends, to call me,’ he stated.
Moments before, the president had told Fox News’ Steve Doocy, ‘The Democrats by the way are very weak on immigration.
‘If you notice when I came over they were all saying about separating the families and that’s a Democrat bill. That’s Democrats wanting to do that and they could solve it very easily by getting together. But they think it’s a good election point. I think it’s a horrible election point for them.’
Doocy brought up Democrats’ complaints that Trump’s policy is ‘heartless,’ to which Trump replied, ‘But that’s the law and that’s what the Democrats gave us and we’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate but the just don’t want to negotiate.’
‘They’re afraid of – they’re afraid of security for our country. They’re afraid of a wall. Although I must tell you most people now really – they want the wall.’
Doocey as the president whether he would be willing to sign the Goodlatte bill or the moderate legislation that was being put together in advance of an announced House vote on immigration.
The president said, ‘I’m looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn’t sign the more…’
Before the president could finish his answer, Doocy jumped in and asked what a bill would have to include to get the president’s signature.
‘I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security,’ he said. ‘We have to have the wall. If we don’t have the wall there’s no bill. We have to catch and release. We catch a criminal, a real criminal, a rough tough criminal, we take his name and then we release him. And we say please show up to court in a couple of months.
Trump told journalists who waiting to question him after his Fox interview, ‘We need a wall. We need border security. We got to get rid of catch-and-release. You catch a criminal, you take his name, you release him, and he never shows up again. He goes into our society, and then we end up getting him in a different way, oftentimes after he’s killed somebody’
‘You know what the chances of getting him to court are? Like zero. OK. It’s crazy. Then we have the lottery program, right.’
Trump went on to claim, ‘That’s when you pick names to come into the country. Well when a country gives names, they’re not giving us their finest. So we’re picking people, it’s not good,’ he said. ‘We have to end that. We have to end a couple of them and we are going to be so secure as a country.
‘Now with all of that being said, we’re doing a great job. ICE, we’re getting MS-13 out by the thousands. But we shouldn’t have to be going into towns in Long Island and other places and getting them out. You know it’s almost like we’re liberating towns. It’s incredible.’
After Capitol Hill erupted over the president’s swatting down of leadership’s strategy to appease conservatives and a group of moderates trying to go around House management, a White House official told D.C.-centric publication The Hill that the president ‘misunderstood’ what he was being asked.
‘Yes, we fully support both the Goodlatte bill and the Leadership bill,’ the person said. ‘The President misunderstood the question this morning on Fox News.’
Shah, the deputy press secretary, said after additional queries: ‘The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill.
‘In this morning’s interview, he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, and not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills,’ Shah stated.