Steny Hoyer walked out of the White House with a grim look on his face. He had spent the last two hours sitting next to President Donald Trump in a bipartisan meeting with his GOP counterparts discussing DACA and border security.
He walked up with a contingent of Democrats to the makeshift podium in the stakeout area outside of the West Wing near the North Lawn to talk about the issue and amazingly, to some, Hoyer said the president had potentially brokered a deal on border security that would ensure The Dreamers could stay in this country.
While the deal to keep the Dreamers in the country had been held hostage by the GOP and the President over the issue of the big beautiful wall Trump promised to build on the 1900 mile border with our Mexican neighbors, Hoyer said that issue had been overcome.
“First of all let me say the Democrats want increased border security too,” Hoyer told an assembly of reporters. “And when the president talks about ‘a wall’ I think that is interchangeable with better border security,” Hoyer explained.
Representative Henry Cuellar, who lives in Laredo and knows firsthand the problems on the border explained that it was not practical to build a 1900 mile long wall for a variety of reasons and said the government needed to hire more Border Patrol agents and invest in other things to enhance border security.
A few minutes later the GOP members of the bipartisan delegation which had visited with the president told nearly the same story - with minor variations.
In a rare act of government transparency a small contingent of reporters had holed up with the President and the congressmen for more than 50 minutes while they bantered back and forth and tried to strike a deal in front of the cameras.
It was a strange day at the White House – one of many.
But at the end of it, President Trump proved he could force both parties to come to an agreement – at least in principle – over how to proceed. He also proved he was willing to concede and negotiate – necessary skills for any politician but more so for a president who already risks going down in history as an epic hot mess. For those diehard believers, there will not be a 1900-mile wall separating the United States and Mexico - or will there?
It was a strange day at the White House - one of many
The ranting and raving about marauding illegal aliens looting and pillaging like characters in a Hanna-Barbera Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny cartoon took a backseat to a reality – the crime rate in the immigrant community isn’t that bad, MS-13 gang members aren’t lurking around every street corner, and some people who were born elsewhere and came to this country as small children are as American as the rest of us – as Hoyer eagerly and earnestly pointed out to the cameras and reporters.
For those who still want to believe Trump plans on building a beautiful, wonderful wall, Sarah Huckabee Sanders made it clear Tuesday the wall is now just part of the comprehensive plan for better border security and river roads patrolling the Rio Grande, surveillance cameras, personnel and updated electronics are going to be part of the now metaphorical wall the country will build between us and the raging heathens Trump and others see south of the border. But wait - there's always a pivot coming.
While “chain migration” is “family reunification” to the Democrats, the GOP still sees immigrants as dangerous and The Dreamers pawns in the negotiation of tougher policing of our borders.
If anyone doubts that, then they merely had to wait for Trump to issue a tweet on Wednesday to not only seemingly backtrack on the deal cut on Tuesday, but to hammer home how Trump sees the dreamers: “As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border, which must be part of any DACA approval,” he said.
He also told reporters in a dual news conference Wednesday that you can’t knowingly say things that are false – remember he was the one who said Obama was bugging him, Obama had a false birth certificate, and that there was absolutely no link between his campaign and the Russians.
He also said Wednesday that the Mueller investigation was a huge witch hunt, waste of time and was a Democratic hoax.
In other words, whatever progress Congressmen made in sitting down with the President on Tuesday seemed potentially erased by Wednesday - or at least more difficult to obtain. Or was it? Congress can still strike a deal, the president can posture and then sign a deal under duress and blame Congress if the wall isn't built. Anything is possible.
The "Wall" itself has gone through many permutations. It's going to be big. It's going to be solid. It's going to be transparent. It's going to have solar panels. It's going to go five feet deep into the ground. It's going to be a virtual wall, it's going to be . . . (fill in the blank depending on the crowd).
Whatever the President said or didn’t say on Tuesday is not only open for interpretation but can be contradicted with impunity on Wednesday.
Whatever we think is going on in Washington doesn’t matter. Whatever happened at the end of one day can be flushed the next. The idea that this type of behavior can go on for another three years before the country can take a breath and reset is like thinking we’ll be stuck in a popcorn machine endlessly cooking, baking and popping us for the next three years.
At least the popcorn machine can be turned off.
Trump seems to have no off switch and the popcorn machine president remains ready to shake things up without solving anything.
In this environment finding facts is as difficult as unpopping the corn.