Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said over the weekend that President Donald Trump is afraid to make concessions on immigration and amnesty issues because he fears the populist “Breitbart wing” of the Republican Party.
During a Saturday evening appearance on MSNBC, Merkley said that Trump did not want to give in to the Democrats’ demands on amnesty for illegal immigrants and a permanent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fix during the government shutdown debate because “he’s essentially terrified of the Breitbart wing of the Republican Party, so he doesn’t have the courage to be the closer and close the deal.”
Merkley also said that when it comes to understanding policy issues, “there’s no there there” with Trump.
Democrats and pro-amnesty Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had hoped that a DACA fix would be a prelude to a much bigger comprehensive amnesty bill in which nearly all of the country’s illegal immigrants are given a path to citizenship.
Graham, along with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), has been reportedly working on a broader amnesty bill that would also give legal status to the parents of illegal immigrant Dreamers. Graham told Trump that this moment may be the best chance for a permanent amnesty deal and said he hoped that Trump could be the closer. He has even tried to convince Trump that Trump could negotiate a comprehensive amnesty solution that former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama could not get done.
“Obama couldn’t do it. Bush couldn’t do it. I think you can do it,” Graham told Trump during a recent White House immigration meeting. “I’ve never been more optimistic about an immigration reform proposal making it to the president’s desk right now.”