I was surfing around the Internet this afternoon, and I found this (mostly unnoticed) clip from Monday, and when you watch it, it’s going to sound like Donald Trump executing a truly massive flip flop on immigration. In fact, that is exactly how Mediaite described it. However, I am here to promise you that it is not.
That is not to say that I am going to defend The Donald on this one. On the contrary, the reason that this is not a flip-flop is that it is actually clear that Donald Trump has literally no idea what the hell he is talking about when it comes to immigration. Watch this clip and see it for yourself. Donald Trump, the candidate who claims to have the best and most sophisticated immigration plan in the country, has no idea what DREAMers are (as it relates to immigration), what “deferred action” Obama granted to illegal immigrations, or whether he supports revoking that deferred action.
I’m dead serious, he has no idea what any of these terms mean, even when the interviewer makes it clear that she is asking a question about immigration. Watch for yourself (rough transcript follows):
REPORTER: You have, um, accused Jeb Bush of being weak on immigration?
TRUMP: Weak, period.
REPORTER: Um, there are over a hundred thousand young people known as DREAMers…
REPORTER: Who have the deferred action given to them by the Obama administration..
TRUMP: Sure. I think it’s great.
REPORTER: What.. what should they expect from..
TRUMP: You know what I want? I want dreamers to come from this country. Okay?
TRUMP: Wait. You mentioned dreamers? I want dreamers to come from the United States. I want the people in the United States that have children, I want them to have dreams also. We’re always talking about dreamers for other people. I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They’re not dreaming right now. And you look at African American youth, I mean.. [Trump continues on in this vein about how Obama has failed the black community for some time]. Okay, how about one or two more questions?
REPORTER: So, deferred action, Mr. Trump, would you revoke their deferred action?
TRUMP: I’ll look at it.
What the actual hell. I suppose I should stop being surprised when Trump displays basic ignorance of something that he claims to know and care quite a lot about, but the immigration thing is supposed to be his one single issue, the one item he’s hanging his hat on.
Obama’s deferred action programs have been the subject of enormous media coverage and scrutiny. They are the subject of active litigation that will be before the Supreme Court this year. The question of whether the incoming President will continue those programs (which exist solely by executive fiat) should be one of the first things a candidate is prepared to answer. And Trump has no idea what the hell this reporter is even talking about, or what she might be referring to.