Trump Tweet Shows How Tough an Immigration Deal Will Be

President claims Democrats ‘don’t want secure borders’

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, left, makes a point to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office as White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short looks on at the end of a Sept. 6 meeting in which they struck a deal on government funding and the debt ceiling. A deal on immigration policy appears harder. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, left, makes a point to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office as White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short looks on at the end of a Sept. 6 meeting in which they struck a deal on government funding and the debt ceiling. A deal on immigration policy appears harder. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)
Posted October 10, 2017 at 7:18am

President Donald Trump attacked congressional Democrats Tuesday morning, tweeting they “don’t want secure borders” and calling that the biggest hurdle that could sink efforts to craft an immigration bill.

The post on the president’s favorite social media site was part of an unusually early presidential Twitter storm that began shortly after 6 a.m. EDT — Trump’s morning tweets typically land between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. In other tweets, Trump threatened the NFL and confirmed he will sign an executive order later this week that will terminate regulations put in place by Barack Obama’s 2010 health law.

“The problem” Trump wrote about striking an immigration deal that would need to attract a handful — and maybe more — Senate Democrats is “the Democrats don’t want secure borders.” He finished that tweet with rhetoric more typical for the campaign trail and less often used by a sitting president, alleging that members of the opposition party “don’t care about safety for U.S.A.”

But the 45th president is less interested in appearing “presidential” by traditional standards and more interested in driving the day’s media narrative, keeping himself in at the forefront of media coverage, attacking his enemies and appeasing his base with sharp-elbowed words and constant fights with his — and their — foes.

Trump administration officials on Sunday evening unveiled a sweeping list of demands for immigration overhaul legislation, and senior Democrats were quick to reject much of the White House’s demands. Democratic leaders’ reaction cast doubt on whether a deal is possible that would make legal the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Senior White House and administration officials told reporters on a hastily arranged call that Trump wants an immigration bill he set in motion last month to include funding for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, provisions aimed at cracking down on the flow of minors from Central and South America, a new merit-based legal immigration system, and changes to the federal grant program for so-called “sanctuary cities.”

“We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Sunday night in a joint statement. “This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”

And on the border wall, they said they made clear to Trump that they had “explicitly ruled out” its inclusion in immigration negotiations.

The immigration tweet comes as the clock continues to tick on a six-month window the president last month set in motion for Congress sending him an immigration bill. He did so when he put the Obama-era DACA program on a glide path toward termination, giving Congress six months to make that program — or something similar — legal as part of a broader immigration bill.

But one month of that window has already passed, with the Senate on recess this week and the next two months slated to be devoted to — in terms of major legislation — a Republican tax overhaul push, hurricane relief funding and a potentially contentious government-funding bill.

The president fired off another tweet minutes later chiding Congress that since it “can’t get its act together on HealthCare,” he plans to sign an order that will “give great HealthCare to many people – FAST.”

The order is expected to make it simpler for individuals to cluster together to buy insurance via so-called “association plans.” It also reportedly will terminate Obama administration-set regulations on “short-term medical insurance,” which the last administration deemed insufficient to the 2010 law’s goals.

And while the NFL’s Week 5 ended Monday night when Minnesota defeated division rival Chicago, 20-17, Trump ensured the country’s top sports league would remain in the headlines well into the Tuesday news cycle.

He did so with a tweet again lashing out at the league’s players for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest what they view as inequality issues like alleged police brutality. Trump suggested tax laws should be altered to punish the NFL over the anthem protests, raising questions about why the league receives “massive tax breaks” while players “disrespect” the anthem, American flag and entire country.

The president then made this call, apparently to lawmakers, on how to punish the NFL over its players’ actions: “Change tax law!”

The NFL voluntarily gave up its long-controversial “tax-exempt status” in 2015, but its franchises regularly get taxpayer help for new stadiums and upgrades to existing facilities. Trump was echoing calls made by some conservative House Republicans since the president started his feud with professional athletes and the NFL a few weeks ago.

“It’s my belief that if the Congress is serious about getting rid of the loopholes and special interest giveaways in the tax code in the coming weeks, an easy place to start is by not subsidizing and not giving special treatment to professional sports leagues, particularly when the NFL league office has embraced this unpatriotic behavior,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told Fox News Monday night.