President Donald Trump appeared ready to consider an immigration deal with Democrats and moderate Republicans this week — until a hard-right flank led by White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton pulled him back. Miller is widely viewed in the Senate as an obstacle to a deal who has supplied the president with an unrealistic expectation of what Democrats would accept, according to three people familiar with the talks. The unravelling of the potential compromise further stokes concerns about Trump’s unpredictability as a negotiator and his impulse to rapidly reverse course. House Republicans backed Trump on an Obamacare repeal last year only to see him turn around and denigrate the bill as “mean.” He abandoned Republican leaders in the middle of an Oval Office meeting in September to strike a budget deal with their Democratic counterparts. Only this time the ensuing blow-up is raising the risk of a government shutdown that could come as soon as the end of next week. Miller is providing Trump advice that is tone-deaf on how emotionally invested Senate Democrats are on immigration, said a person familiar with the talks. That is feeding a misunderstanding that concessions on spending will buy a better deal on immigration, the person added. White House officials defend the Trump aide’s role. Miller is simply reflecting the administration’s views, not undercutting White House Chief of Staff John Kelly or other Trump negotiators, two administration officials said. Trump, who vacillated between more moderate proposals on Tuesday and a hard-line stance by Thursday, further derailed the negotiations with a vulgar insult to immigrants from certain countries. Trump’s comments — describing places such as Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries — consumed the news cycle Friday and sparked bipartisan condemnation, all but killing any sense of optimism that a deal could be struck soon to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. “My thought that we might get a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died yesterday,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin told reporters Friday.
Source: Business Standard