December 6, 2022

CNN’s Chris Cuomo just asked Mulvaney for Trump’s position on DACA. His answer says it all

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After sitting on the sidelines while Republicans and Democrats in the Senate hammered out a deal to keep the government open over the weekend after a promise by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to have serious talks about how to address the DACA program for “DREAMers” who could be deported as soon as March, President Trump is finally ready to wade in on his own terms (video below).


That was the message from Trump’s Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in a heated and sometimes rancorous discussion with CNN’s Chris Cuomo today as the anchor tried and tried again to get a clear statement on the president’s position on DACA.

Instead, Mulvaney constantly jumped to the White House agenda which is to only deal with DACA if there is a larger deal on immigration, border security and funding Trump’s wall along the Southern border. 

Under what conditions will Trump let the DACA “DREAMers” who have grown up in the U.S., obeyed the laws, paid taxes and been good Americans stay here, Cuomo asked?

“It depends on what we get in exchange,” responded Mulvaney, “what we get in border security, what do we get for the wall?”

In other words, the discussion that McConnell promised about DACA is not the one the president is now willing to have in the short period of 17 days before government funding runs out again.

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Cuomo kept returning to the question of the DACA deal that McConnell seemed to suggest could get done and Trump’s earlier words about wanting a deal done with “love.”

“A wall is an inanimate object,” said Cuomo. “And you can dicker about it, about the money and the appropriations, but DREAMers are human beings and the idea he will only be as generous, as loving, right, because he wants to do a deal with love, as warranted by what he gets in return does not seem like love to me.”

Mulvaney retorted that Trump will not do a deal for DACA unless it is a more “holistic” solution that addresses the illegal immigration that allowed these “DREAMers” to enter the U.S. in the first place.

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“Simply waving a wand and giving amnesty to 12 or 13 million people may solve a problem for them,” said Mulvaney, “but the President has to act for everyone so your kids and my kids are not having this debate 25 years from now.”

“What’s wrong with it is you’re lumping in something that is an exigency with a human cost right now,” said Cuomo, “with things that are not on that same sphere.”

No matter how much Cuomo tried, he could not get a clear answer on the President’s position on DACA, only that Trump plans to horse trade to get what he wants before he helps the “DREAMers.”

What they could agree on is that time is short. As Mulvaney pointed out, there actually are not 17 days to do this deal. Congress will only be in session for about six or seven or those days, so that is the real window to solve the DACA problem and keep the government open.

Trump has acted like he won a big victory when Democrats agreed to do a deal that didn’t include DACA in return for a promise from McConnell to address the DREAMers’ deadline.

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Now Trump once again is a being a bully who thinks he can force Democrats to give him billions for his wall and impose draconian new rules on immigration, but just as he was in the health care debate and on other issues, Trump is fooling himself. 

The problem is his being a fool can hurt the “DREAMers” as well as Americans if it leads to yet another government shutdown because Trump wants it all and doesn’t want to work on a bipartisan deal both sides can live with.

If the conversation today on CNN is a sign of what is ahead, no good will come of this. 

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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