The Washington Post reports that political observers are waiting to see how President Trump’s base will react to news that he may have reached an amnesty deal with Congressional Democrats.
Trump’s promise of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico was a centerpiece of his campaign. His supporters loved his hardline stance on immigration, and that was one of the reasons they showed him their loyalty at the ballot box.
Some of these supporters feel betrayed by the president’s new fondness for bargaining with Democrats.
On Thursday, Trump gave signs that he would favor giving legal status to people who were brought to the country illegally as children. These young people have been covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
When President Trump announced his intention to eliminate DACA, it sparked widespread outrage everywhere except among his most fervent supporters. Now that he has expressed a willingness to support a solution that is more pro-immigration than DACA, some of them are worried that he won’t fight for the border wall as hard as they think he should.
They are angry at his sudden willingness to work with Democrats and establishment Republicans.
Conservative figurehead Ann Coulter tweeted, “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.”
The conservative website Breitbart ran a headline declaring the president “Amnesty Don.” Breitbart is run by Stephen K. Bannon, former Trump confidant and chief strategist.
However, not all conservatives were ready to criticize Trump. The president still has grass-roots popularity. These conservatives also believe Congressional leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are more enticing targets. This stance was adopted by radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Many Washington insiders agree that Trump’s sudden openness to Congressional Democrats is evidence of his desperation for a major policy victory.
The big question is whether or not Trump’s base would be willing to overlook policy compromises so long as Trump continues to give them a voice via his populist rhetoric.
The president’s recent statements on the border wall have lacked consistency. He told reporters “the wall will come later,” but his political committee sent a message that read, “WE WILL BUILD A WALL, NOT A FENCE.”
Trump also has room to maneuver because polling data suggest his supporters are more lenient on the issue of DACA than on other immigration-related issues.