Lawmakers are under pressure to “strike a deal” on DACA, the program which shields young illegal aliens who were brought to America as children, from deportation.
President Trump held a bipartisan meeting with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, and, in a rare occurrence, left reporters in the room to hear a good portion of the entire meeting.
Trump made it clear he will approve a DACA deal, and promised he will sign whatever the ends up on his desk, even if he doesn’t agree with it 100 percent, because he said he trusts lawmakers on both sides to come up with a deal that works. He said it should be a “bill of love.”
The president insisted that funding for a wall must be included, but said it can be built for much less than the estimated $18 billion. “I would love not to build the wall, but you need the wall,” he said.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy urged the group to all be willing to give a little, but come together and solve the problem once and for all.
Trump said, “I would like to add the word ‘merit’ in any bill that’s submitted.”
The president told the group they needed a different system to bring people together, and blasted the animosity and hatred between Republicans and Democrats. He suggested maybe bringing back the old earmark system to help them all get along and pass bipartisan bills.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “You turn on Fox News and I can hear the drum beat coming. Right-wing radio and TV talk-show hosts are going to beat the crap out of us, ’cause it’s going to be ‘amnesty all over again.’ I don’t know if the Republican and the Democrat party can define love, but I think what we can do is what the American people want us to do,” he said, adding that “62 percent of the Trump voters support a pathway to citizenship for the DACA kids if you have strong borders. You have created an opportunity here, Mr. President, and you need to close the deal.”
Trump admitted that, “I do have people who are very far right and very far left, who are very unhappy about what we’re doing, but I don’t really believe they have to be, because I believe this sells itself.”
“If we do DACA properly, we’re not far away from comprehensive immigration reform. If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat, I don’t care. I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans,” Trump said.
WATCH ENTIRE EXCHANGE IN VIDEO BELOW, as Republican and Democrat lawmakers sat around the table and discussed their ideas and options for DACA, the border wall, and immigration reform.
Woah. In immigration meeting with lawmakers, Trump appears to endorse a clean DACA bill followed by a broader immigration reform package.
“If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat,” Trump says after @LindseyGrahamSC brings up path to citizenship for DREAMers
— Gabby Morrongiello (@gabriellahope_) January 9, 2018
Trump to Lindsey Graham:
“If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat. You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform.”
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) January 9, 2018
“You wanna know the truth Dick, if we do this properly, DACA, you’re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform & if you want to take it that further step…I’ll take all the heat you wanna give me & I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats & the Republicans” – Trump
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) January 9, 2018