Donald Trump Just Praised Reagan's 1986 Amnesty

At Donald Trump’s rally on Thursday night in Las Vegas, he said something truly incredible. He said, verbatim, that after getting elected, he would have to get “a little bit establishment,” which is a contradiction to everything his supporters claim they have stood for all this time. Even worse, he said that the reasonˆthat he would get “a little establishment” is that he would need to make some really great, classy deals with Democrats, because “that’s what this country’s all about.”

Now some Trump supporters yesterday are saying Trump was misquoted, but here he is, on video, saying exactly that.

Trump: And you know what, there’s a point at which, let’s get to be a little bit establishment, because we gotta get things done, folks, okay? Believe me, don’t worry, we’re gonna get such great deals, but at a certain point, you can’t be so strident, you can’t not get along, we gotta get along with people. You know in the old days, Ronald Reagan, and I remember it so vividly, I was a young guy, I helped Ronald Reagan, I really liked him… so what happens, Ronald Reagan would get along with (Democrat) Tip O’Neill, and they’d sit down, and they’d make great deals for everybody. That’s what the country’s about, isn’t it? I mean, we can all be tough but at some point we gotta get our country back on track.

Now, the “let’s get to be a little bit establishment” part is bad, it’s an open betrayal of his supporters, but the part about Tip O’Neill is worse. Because the most notorious deal Reagan struck with Tip O’Neill was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which was without a doubt an amnesty bill that is worse than the Gang of 8 concept by far.

Reagan, for those who remember, basically instructed Alan Simpson to go sit down with Tip O’Neill and begin dialogue on an immigration bill, which Simpson dutifully did. The problem, of course, with negotiation great, classy deals with Democrats is that Democrats want things, too, and they are 100% willing to walk away from the table on this immigration issue, because they have correctly perceived that they can continue to use it as a wedge issue in the general election forever and ever.

In this case, the reason that it failed is that in exchange for the other provisions like improved border security, Democrats insisted that the secure employer ID – which they demagogued as a national ID card – be stripped from the bill at the last minute. As a result, enforcement continued to be a joke and thus Reagan’s immigration bill became effectively an amnesty. And Donald Trump got a lot of new workers to help build his golf courses and hotels.

That’s exactly the kind of deal that Reagan would work out with Tip O’Neill, and when he did with respect to immigration, the end result was an immigration system that allowed a whole lot more illegal immigrants into this country. And that’s what Donald Trump just praised.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that roughly 100% of Trump’s supporters have bashed Rubio since the start of the campaign as a sucker for trying to work with Chuck Schumer on immigration. It’s taken as evidence of Rubio’s gullibility and unfitness for being President that he didn’t know what a stupid idea it was to try to cut deals with the faithless Democrats. If that’s true of Rubio, it’s just as true of Trump.

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