When the White House hosts policy negotiations with lawmakers, the interesting stuff usually happens far from public view. It's what made yesterday's discussion on immigration so extraordinary.
Donald Trump met in the White House cabinet room with lawmakers from both parties and both chambers, and in a dramatic change of pace, they all talked while cameras rolled for an hour. Why did we get this valuable peek behind the curtain? It's hard to say for sure; perhaps the president hoped to discredit concerns about his mental stability.
But if that was the goal, it was a flawed plan. In one especially important moment, we saw Trump accidentally endorse a Senate Democrat's request for a clean DACA bill, extending protections to Dreamers, only to have a House Republican quickly interject, reminding the president of what his position is supposed to be.
In other words, Trump brought nearly two dozen members together for negotiations on immigration policy, and he briefly stumbled into rejecting his own administration's goals. After years of (often vague) talk about the issue, Trump still isn't up to speed on some of the most basic details.
In fact, the president was unexpectedly candid on this front, effectively admitting that he not only doesn't especially care what lawmakers come up with on immigration policy, but also that he doesn't intend to play much of a role in crafting a final product.
"I will say, when this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I'm signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I'm not going to say, 'Oh, gee, I want this or I want that.' I'll be signing it, because I have a lot of confidence in the people in this room that they're going to come up with something really good."
Later, Trump added, "I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. I am very much reliant on the people in this room." He went on to say if lawmakers negotiate a policy "with things that I'm not in love with," he intends to embrace it anyway.