In the midst of a White House photo op yesterday that turned into reality TV, there was some actual news. Team Trump allowed cameras into a meeting between the President and members of Congress to discuss immigration. For 54 minutes they talked, and the cameras rolled. Maybe in retrospect, not the greatest idea.
During that 54 minutes, expressly designed to show Trump was mentally fit to finish a meeting, he dropped a couple of unscripted doozies. First, he said maybe the Congress should bring back earmarks.
For those of you who don’t recall, earmarks were a legal form of bribery that Congress thankfully got rid of six years ago. Now Mr. Drain-The-Swamp himself suddenly wants to bring them back? Lobbyists must be giddy because Congress would go hog wild over pork-barrel spending again. Conservative groups were, according to The Washington Post, aghast.
Heritage Action chief executive Michael Needham said it is “nearly unthinkable” that Trump “would consider reinstating one of the most egregious examples of cronyism on Capitol Hill.”
“If Republicans bring back earmarks, then it virtually guarantees that they will lose the House,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh, a former congressman from Indiana. “Bringing back earmarks is the antithesis of draining the swamp.”
Then, it was “the wall,” or not! Trump has been insisting any deal on keeping the 700,000
“Dreamers” would depend on whether he got funding for the wall. But during the meeting, he seemed to say no. Actually, he contradicted himself several times. From CNN:
The President at times suggested he would be looking to sign everything from a stand-alone fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — set to expire in March — to comprehensive immigration reform, often appearing to be guided by lawmakers in the room to modify his positions.
Next time, maybe a shorter photo op.