Seven Ways Marc Short Stalled Donald Trump’s Immigration Reforms

Mark Short Fail
Alex Wong/Getty Images
NEIL MUNRO

Vice President Mike Pence is bringing Marc Short back to the White House, despite Short’s failure to deliver on President Donald Trump’s core promise of immigration reform and a border wall.

On Pence’s advice, Trump hired Short in 2016 as his first outreach chief to Capitol Hill. But Short spent his time trying to win a tax cut and amnesties favored by his former employers, the Koch network. The resulting failure was made clear in March 2018 when Trump realized his deputies had ignored his demands for a big budget to build the wall. According to the Wall Street Journal:

In March [2018], Congress completed a $1.3 trillion spending package, but included just $1.6 billion for a border barrier, with most of the money intended to replace existing fencing. It banned the money from being spent on concrete slabs or any other of the wall prototypes the White House was considering.

Upset there wasn’t more money for the wall, Mr. Trump threatened to veto it. At an emergency meeting at the White House with his staff and Republican leaders, Mr. Trump learned that the spending bill incorporated all of the border wall money that was requested in the White House budget proposal.

“Who the f— put that in my request?” Mr. Trump shouted.

Mr. Trump directed his fury at Marc Short, then his legislative affairs director, while John Kelly, the former chief of staff was silent. Mr. Kelly was the Department of Homeland Security secretary when the agency made the request for border funds the year before.

Shortly thereafter, Short appeared on MSNBC, saying “the $1.6 billion is what we asked for” — even though Trump’s wall plan needed a budget of roughly $25 billion.

Here are seven ways in which Short shorted Trump:

In the 2016 campaign, Short worked to defeat Trump:

In May 2016, during the height of the Republican presidential primary, where Trump was taking the country by storm on his populist and economic nationalist agenda, Short was heading an effort to derail the then-front-runner.

At the time, National Review exclusively reported that Short was leading an effort inside the Koch brothers’ organizations to take down Trump and his agenda, partly by supporting Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who infamously helped author the Gang of Eight amnesty bill:

“On a frigid Tuesday in February, a team of top political operatives from the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella group that controls political activities for the sprawling donor network led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, arrived in Kansas for a meeting that they hoped would turn the tide of the presidential campaign.

They’d set aside $150 million to spend on paid media alone, to be spread across campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Yet they had not been authorized to spend a dime on the White House race.

Marc Short, then president of Freedom Partners, wanted to change that. He led a faction inside the Koch network that had become convinced of the need to neutralize Donald Trump before his momentum made him unstoppable. Fresh off Trump’s landslide victory in New Hampshire one week earlier, and staring down another likely Trump win in South Carolina that Saturday, Short and his lieutenants had come to Wichita to present Charles Koch with a detailed, eight-figure blueprint for derailing the Republican front-runner on Super Tuesday, when eleven states would vote. They hoped to get the green light to hammer Trump with ads in the states where he was most vulnerable.”

Just a week after Short’s efforts to lead a full-fledged Koch-funded operation against Trump, he signed onto the Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign.

In September 2017, Short downplayed Trump’s immigration reforms — “we’re interested” — while declaring tax reform “is essential to us”:

“We’re interested in getting border security and the president has made the commitment to the American people that a barrier is important to that security,” Short said, according to TheHill.com. “Whether it’s part of DACA or another legislative vehicle, I don’t want to bind us into a construct that would make the conclusion on DACA impossible.”

During the breakfast, Short touted the importance of a tax cut. “It is essential to us — right now,” he said.

In January 2018, Short told NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump would be “willing to expand” an amnesty beyond the named-and-registered 800,000 illegals given work permits and protection from deportation by President Barack Obama:

But we see progress. On our side they said they want the 690,000 DACA population expanded. Senator Durbin has made the case that say many people did not register and they should not be held harmful. We’ve been willing to expand that population.

In February 2018: Short did not try to push Trump’s pro-American immigration reform promises and policies, according to an amnesty-boosting article in Politico:

In his first year as Trump’s top liaison to Congress, Republicans say Short has been more of a facilitator, rather than an arm-twister. That role will become particularly critical on immigration – an issue Congress has spectacularly failed to resolve in the past.

“I don’t see him as the real deal-maker so much as the kind of go-between, the mediator,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who’s interacted with Short on a host of issues including health care, the opioid crisis and energy policy. “He doesn’t try to reshape our thoughts. He sort of takes it in, and then, I’m assuming, reports back to the White House.”

In March 2018: Short pushed for an amnesty, telling reporters that Trump is “anxious” for a deal, and without demanding anything in return:

As we said, the president has been very open to continuing negotiations on this. He’s anxious to get a deal. He believes that it’s important to secure our border, but he also believes passionately that these are people who have been in our country, who are working productively, and in order to get a DACA permit, have been obeying the law. So he wants to protect them. We’re anxious to find a way to get a deal.

In June 2018: Short worked with House Speaker Paul Ryan to push for a cheap labor amnesty:

Former “Never Trump” Koch brothers executive turned White House staffer Marc Short is overseeing and sitting in on meetings with Republican House members as they negotiate an amnesty deal that breaks with President Trump’s immigration principles.

NBC News mentioned Short’s sitting in on the meeting as Ryan presented an amnesty plan that guts Trump’s pro-American immigration agenda:

Leadership outlined President Trump’s four pillars on immigration with “tweaks,” said White House legislative adviser Marc Short, who attended the meeting but did not speak there.

“I think a discharge petition turns the House floor over to Nancy Pelosi, which is not ideal for us in advancing our agenda,” Short said.

In February 2019, just after Trump was forced to accept a 2019 border wall budget of just $1.375 billion, Pence hired Short back from the private sector, and Short declared the border wall is merely a political metaphor, not a real effort to protect Americans from cheap labor and dangerous drugs. A White House official contradicted him:

“The point of the wall is to show how the president is committed to border security and painting Democrats into a corner as being against that,” said former White House legislative director Marc Short.

“Finish the wall,’’ he said, “is a good message as long as the wall is a metaphor for border security.”

A White House official said it is even broader than that.

“Finish the wall is really: ‘Finish what we started.’ It’s about the Trump presidency, more than anything,” said the official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. “It’s telling the voters to stick with us, finish what we started, as the Democrats pursue the Green New Deal or Medicare-for-all.”

Business lobbies back the federal government’s economic policy of using both legal and illegal migration to boost economic growth. But that policy also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor.

That annual inflow of roughly one million legal immigrants — as well as the population of two million visa workers and eight million working illegal immigrants — floods the labor market. The flood spikes profits and Wall Street values by shrinking salaries for 150 million blue-collar and white-collar employees and especially wages for the four million young Americans who join the labor force each year.

The federal government’s cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that coastal investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices and pushes poor Americans, including Latinos and blacks, out of prosperous cities such as Berkeley and Oakland.

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