Conservatives are alarmed at news Thursday morning that President Donald Trump tweeted, at the behest of (or in cooperation with) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a reassurance to so-called “Dreamers,” that they would not have to worry about immigration enforcement until the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) in six months and until then. NeverTrump bitter-enders are shrieking “I told you so!” on social media.
In reality, the Pelosi tweet reflects a strategic win for Trump. After demonizing Trump for months, particularly after Charlottesville, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA) are now praising him publicly. Pelosi told her caucus Thursday about working with Trump on the tweet, and Schumer told reporters Wednesday: “The bottom line is, the president listened to the arguments … And, to his credit, he went with the better argument.”
Trump’s Republican critics would be right to be worried if Trump had yielded anything significant in exchange for that praise. But all he did was raise the debt ceiling, fund the government, and pay for Hurricane Harvey relief — all things he would have done anyway, and that would have damaged him and his party (under the circumstances) if he had not. True, he might yet cave on DACA, but he was signaling a compromise there well before Wednesday’s deal.
It is a core negotiating principle that one should give one’s opponents something cheap — in this case, co-authorship of a sympathetic tweet — for something valuable. And “normalization” of the president is very valuable indeed. Trump enters future negotiations with more leverage over the “spoilers” in the GOP, and with Democrat leaders having declared that he is a reasonable person who can be dealt with, not a crazy dictator who must be removed.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.