After Donald Trump spent the weekend abandoning his pretense that he wants to make a deal to restore protections to the hundreds of thousands of immigrant kids whose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections he unilaterally stripped, his spokesman Hogan Gidley went on Fox News on Monday to blame his decision on congressional Democrats and Barack Obama.
Asked about Trump’s announcement that there would be “no DACA deal,” the White House deputy press secretary unleashed a series of contradictory, false, and misleading claims to try to show that Trump deserves no blame for his own actions and that they actually show that he does want a long-term solution including a DACA deal.
First, Gidley said that the “out of hand” immigration situation is “one of the reasons that the president wanted a lasting, long term solution, when he so graciously offered 1.8 million people a potential pathway to citizenship — three times that of Barack Obama.” After initially promising to sign any immigration deal congress sent to him, Trump repeatedly rejected proposed deals and vowed to veto bipartisan legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
Next, Gidley urged viewers to “remember how we got here,” claiming, “Democrats had control of the House of Representatives. They had a filibuster-proof Senate. And they had a Democrat in the White House, in Barack Obama. And he pledged a hundred days to fix the immigration problem. None of it got fixed.”
While it is true that for part of the period between 2009 and 2010 Democrats controlled the House and White House with a 60 vote majority in the Senate, that period was quite brief and did not coincide with the first 100 days. With a Minnesota Senate seat left vacant until July 7, 2009 while former Senator Norm Coleman (R) challenged his narrow loss to then-Senator-Elect Al Franken (D), the Democrats’ super-majority did not begin until then. It ended after Republican Scott Brown, at the time from Massachusetts, won a January 2010 special election. In between, with Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) battling medical issues and often absent, and then with Kennedy’s death, the filibuster-proof majority lasted just a few months.
Moreover, Obama did not pledge to fix immigration in the first 100 days of his administration — in fact, he said just the opposite. In a May 2008 interview, Obama told Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos: “I cannot guarantee that it is going to be in the first 100 days. But what I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.” With the economic meltdown that followed, his focus that first year was mostly on implementing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a major stimulus bill, and the Affordable Care Act.
Next, Gidley, incredibly claimed that “Democrats are playing politics with people’s lives,” because “DACA wasn’t even in this last omnibus bill.” While this is true, the reason was that the Republican House, Senate, and White House leadership would not agree to Democratic lawmakers pleas to include it.
Finally, Gidley praised Trump for standing up to the Congressional Democrats who had tried to get DACA protections passed, noting that during the brief government shutdown, they had “decided to stand with hundreds of thousands of people who are here unlawfully and illegally, as opposed to the American citizens.”
In a two minute span, Gidley epitomized the Trump immigration policy: ignoring facts, demonizing political opponents and undocumented immigrants, pretending to support protections for undocumented kids, and ultimately demonstrating the exact opposite.