U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement from the Roosevelt Room next to the empty chairs of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (L), D-New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R), D-California, after they cancelled their meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 28, 2017.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Trump says DACA is ‘probably dead,’ scrambles to avoid blame

With policymakers facing a series of pressing deadlines, congressional Democrats have taken several steps to work out an agreement on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) solution that would protect Dreamers. Just last week, Democratic officials not only briefly persuaded Donald Trump to agree with their position, they also worked out a bipartisan agreement with Senate Republicans.

It’s against this backdrop that the president spent much of the weekend publishing a series  of  tweets suggesting the door is effectively closed.

“The Democrats are all talk and no action. They are doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed. Too bad! … I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!

“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

Trump appears to be echoing an emerging line that’s popular on the right, especially in conservative media: Dems could agree to a DACA compromise, the argument goes, but they’d rather keep the issue alive in order to exploit the controversy for political gain.

The problem with the thesis, which the president seems a little too eager to promote, is that it’s ridiculous.

We know, for example, that it was a Democrat who created DACA. We also know it was Democratic leaders who negotiated a deal in September to protect Dreamers. We also know it was Democrats who negotiated another deal with Senate Republicans last week to protect Dreamers.

If Dems didn’t want to work out an agreement, none of this would’ve happened. Indeed, for all of Trump’s “all talk and no action” rhetoric, it seems the only player in the process who isn’t doing any meaningful work is the president.

Which is very likely why he’s scrambling to avoid blame if/when the process collapses.

There’s no reason anyone should, or even could, take Trump’s posturing seriously. The president was responsible for putting Dreamers’ futures in jeopardy in the first place, which he then followed by walking away from proposed solutions.

In other words, the president appears to be laying the groundwork for a clumsy scheme in which he creates a problem, rejects solutions to that problem, and then blames everyone else when the problem goes unresolved.

There is, however, a way to test Trump’s newest argument. Jason Sattler suggested over the weekend that congressional leaders simply bring a clean DACA to the floor for a vote in both chambers. If the president’s right, and Dems simply want to keep the controversy alive for cynical, electoral gain, they’ll vote against it. If the president’s wrong, and Democrats are sincerely trying to help these immigrants, they’ll vote for it.

What do you say, GOP leaders?