Republican Congressional leaders and members of the House Freedom Caucus are trying to distort Donald Trump’s “America First” mandate on trade and immigration to comply with the globalist agenda demanded by the party’s major donors, according to GOP staffers who are familiar with the discussions that occur in the closed-door meetings.
Top aides tell Breitbart News that certain members of the House Freedom Caucus are backing the Republican leadership’s agenda by supporting the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long championed globalist donor class policies, such as the uninhibited flow of cheap foreign goods and labor across international borders through expansionist immigration policies and unrestricted free trade.
“At a certain point, we’re going to have to change our group’s name from the ‘House Freedom Caucus’ to the ‘Paul Ryan Caucus,’” one senior aide to a member of the House Freedom Caucus told Breitbart.
The aide continued:
Many members of the Freedom Caucus never opposed Ryan’s positions on trade and immigration the way their constituents do. So they’re more than happy to ignore and cast aside the policies that got Trump elected in exchange for going along with the Ryan’s policies. They’d rather keep the status quo and march lockstep with Ryan than have to stir things up by electing someone who would fight for Trump’s mandate and fight to fulfill the wishes of the American people.
The same message is getting out to establishment media outlets.
“Republican congressional leaders are already trying to twist” the platform that got Trump elected into something that more closely aligns with their own agenda, Capitol Hill reporter Matt Fuller writes:
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has already begun the long Washington slog of twisting President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda into something less Trump, with the California Republican insisting on Monday that Trump’s border wall just meant border security and mass deportations just meant deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
Fuller followed up on Twitter:
This is not what Trump ran on.
This is not what voters were told.
This is not what they voted for.
But Congress, Trump fans, Amirite??
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) November 15, 2016
Similarly, on Sunday, Paul Ryan told CNN that removing illegal aliens was not going to be a “focus” of Donald Trump’s administration. Ryan has been a vocal supporter of immigration amnesty and has a two-decade-long history of pushing for open borders immigration policies. Indeed, open borders advocate Luis Gutierrez has previously described Ryan as his “guiding light” on immigration, and was one of Ryan’s earliest backers for House Speaker last year.
Breitbart News spoke to several top aides to members in the House Freedom Caucus— all of whose members voted for Paul Ryan as House Speaker last year.
The aides explain that, while it has gone virtually unreported by corporate media, many members of the Freedom Caucus never shared Trump’s— nor their constituents’—desire to curb immigration into the United States, nor did they share his skepticism of globalist trade policies.
As such, top aides to members of the House Freedom Caucus now say that many of the group’s members are more than happy to accept what Conservative Review has described as leadership’s effort to “bastardize” Trump’s platform.
According to polling data, Paul Ryan’s vision on trade and immigration is opposed by roughly nine in 10 GOP voters.
Yet despite the clear opposition of their constituents, “A lot of House Freedom Caucus members really don’t oppose Ryan’s positions on trade and immigration,” a separate senior aide for a conservative member of the group told Breitbart. “Typically the issues that unite the House Freedom Caucus are spending and government issues.”
“I think if you were to poll all of the Freedom Caucus members, they’d say that Paul Ryan is an improvement over Boehner, but that they’d still prefer someone better. The members just don’t have a plan to do anything about it.” the aide added.
“Privately, a lot of the members would probably tell you that they thought the ‘Better Way’ [agenda] was not a huge success– and maybe was even a failure. It definitely didn’t send people to the polls,” the aide said.
“Everybody in the House Freedom Caucus and the establishment, at this point, is looking to play the reconciliatory game of saying: ‘Well, Trump was really saying what I’ve been saying all along.’ Of course, we all know this isn’t true. The people who voted for him don’t think that’s what he was running on,” another House Freedom Caucus aide told Breitbart.
“I worry we’ve got establishment Republicans like Mike Pence and Reince Priebus trying to tell Trump that the people who voted for him didn’t really mean X or didn’t really want Y. That worries me,” the aide added.
The stealth co-opting of Trump’s agenda is perhaps best evidenced by former Ryan advisor Dan Senor who— despite actively working to undermine Trump’s chances of electoral success during the election— now says the Republican Party is unified around the realization that it finally has an opportunity to enact tax reform. Senor told CBS:
When I talked to Republicans yesterday what I’m struck by, is that they’re sitting there saying some of us may have had our differences with Donald Trump and the kind of campaign he waged, but at the end of the day we’ve been wanting for years to get big things done on tax reform, in repeal and replace of Obamacare, in getting rid of some of these regulations… overturned. […] And we couldn’t get it done without unified Republican control of the executive branch and legislative branch. Now we have it.
Notably, Senor excluded any mention of enacting reforms on policies like trade or immigration that propelled Trump to victory.
All of the aides–even those whose bosses plan to vote for Ryan–said that it’s doubtful as House Speaker Paul Ryan would ever champion or expend political capital or twist arms to enact Trump’s mandate on the critical issues of trade and immigration.
As late-conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly explained in August, Trump’s agenda stands diametrically opposed to that of current House Speaker Paul Ryan’s. “I think one of the reasons Trump was nominated was because he wants to put America first and defend the interests of the United States,” Schlafly said. “Obviously, Paul Ryan is not an ‘America first’ guy.”
While Tuesday’s Speaker election is just an internal election—and the more formal election comes when the members return at the beginning of January—the “significance of the election Tuesday is the fact that Ryan decided to go ahead and rush it through on Tuesday,” one aide told Breitbart.
“He was asked to delay it, which would allow returning Members to consider his handling of the Lame Duck and newly elected Members could at least meet a few people. He decided to stick with the old, heavy-handed way of doing business,” the aide said.
House Freedom Caucus members have noted that Ryan has broken several significant promises he made to them to secure their vote for him as House Speaker.
For instance, Ryan promised immigration hawk Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks that he would not bring up any major immigration legislation while Barack Obama was president. Ryan swiftly broke that promise by quadrupling the controversial H-2B guest worker program in his omnibus spending bill, which immigration attorney Ian Smith explained would disproportionately “hurt America’s most vulnerable workers” by allowing them to be replaced by temporary foreign workers.
Brooks, who indicated that he is leaning towards supporting Ryan for Speaker, now says that he has gotten a new promise from Ryan on the issue of immigration.
Brooks was quick to admit that he has no reason to believe that Ryan will keep his promise to him this year any better than he did last.
Congressman Dave Brat, who voted against Ryan last year and urged for a delay of Tuesday’s leadership election, noted that “Speaker Ryan promised last year that if elected, he would adhere to regular order. It didn’t happen,” Brat wrote. “This year, the House didn’t even vote on a budget.”
“Is this what the American people want?” Brat asked.
The House Freedom Caucus’s stated purpose is to give “a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them.” It remains unclear whether the group’s members believe that their constituents are entitled to Congressional leadership that represents their views on these significant issues, which were at the center of the 2016 election.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus include, among others: Jim Jordan, Mick Mulvaney, Raul Labrador, Dave Brat, Mo Brooks, Jeff Duncan, Matt Salmon, Mark Meadows, John Fleming, Jim Bridenstine, Justin Amash, Barry Loudermilk, Gary Palmer, and Alex Mooney.