Anti-immigration conservatives flipped out over news that President Donald Trump made a deal with Democratic leaders on immigration.
Following dinner at the White House on Wednesday night, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that Trump had agreed to legislation that would save the country’s 800,000 Dreamers from deportation. The U.S.-Mexico border wall― a central Trump campaign promise― was not part of this deal, they said.
The meeting was the result of widespread backlash over the administration’s decision earlier this month to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program created during former president Barack Obama’s administration that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Trump on Thursday denied that the group had reached a firm agreement, and both White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Schumer’s communications director have said the president would continue to push for the wall in other agreements. Conservative pundits still cried betrayal, though.
Far-right news outlet Breitbart News ran with the headline, “Amnesty Don.”
“President Trump signaled a full-fledged cave on the issue of giving amnesty to nearly 800,000 illegal aliens currently protected by an Obama-created executive immigration program,” Breitbart reporter John Binder wrote.
Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity, who blamed Republican leaders, said that “it’s over” for the president if he abandons his hardline immigration stance.
Rep. Steve King (Iowa), one of Congress’ most vocal immigration opponents, warned that Trump supporters would be “disillusioned beyond repair” if reports of the deal were true.
When Trump tweeted on Thursday that Dreamers were in the U.S. “through no fault of their own,” conservative firebrand Ann Coulter wondered, “who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?”
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs called the reported deal a “huge loss,” while former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh (R) said that Trump “screwed his base.”
Not all conservatives are on the same page, however.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R), usually an outspoken Trump critic, offered the president “kudos.”
In an interview with The Associated Press published on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) maintained his position that the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers was “not in our nation’s interest.”
Ryan’s comments reflect what is largely a consensus among prominent establishment Republicans, including Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, that deporting Dreamers is a bad idea. Even former White House strategist Steve Bannon, another immigration hardliner, said he disagreed with the president’s decision to rescind DACA.