Report: Trump Meeting With House GOP 'Didn't Move Needle'

But he wants them to send him an immigration bill
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2018 6:23 AM CDT
Report: Trump Meeting With House GOP 'Didn't Move Needle'
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, walks with President Trump as they head to a meeting of House Republicans to discuss a GOP immigration bill at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Trump met with House Republicans Tuesday amid mounting public outrage over the separation of children from their families at the border—but insiders say that while the closed-door address was vintage Trump, he didn't leave lawmakers with a clear path to a deal on immigration. Lawmakers say Trump told them to send him a bill, but some say he didn't express a preference between a compromise bill that includes protections for Dreamers along with border wall funding, or a more hardline bill. "It did not move the needle at all," one top Republican lawmaker tells Politico. "He made comments like 'I'm behind it 1,000%,' but what is 'it'?" In other coverage:

  • Ivanka isn't happy. Ivanka Trump is apparently among the many opponents of the border separation policy. Multiple GOP lawmakers tell the Washington Post that Trump told them his daughter was upset by images of children taken from their families and asked if they could do anything to stop it. They say Trump told them: "We need to figure this out. It’s a sad situation." He did not, however, tell them that he planned to back down on the policy, which he has the power to change.

  • "I am behind you so much." Lawmakers tell the Hill that Trump said: "I am behind you so much. We need a wall. I am with you all the way." They say his speech to them strayed far from immigration to touch on issues including tax cuts, tariffs, and North Korea. Lawmakers including North Carolina's Rep. Walter Jones say they were upset when Trump mocked their colleague Rep. Mark Sanford for being a "nasty guy" who lost his primary.
  • Heckled by Democrats. The president was heckled by a small group of House Democrats as he left the meeting room, the Post reports. "Quit separating the children, Mr. President," shouted Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas of California. "Don’t you have kids, don’t you have kids?"
  • "Securing the border." There are votes on both House immigration measures this week, and the House GOP has been trying to muster support for the compromise measure, the New York Times reports. "The president was very firm in explaining why it’s so important that he gets this bill to his desk so that we can solve some problems and secure our border," said Rep. Steve Scalise, adding that the bill "reunites kids" as well as securing the border.

  • Major change to bill. A GOP source says the House compromise bill has been altered to keep children with their families, the AP reports. The insider says the change would allow children to be detained indefinitely instead of for just 20 days—but they would be detained with their parents.
  • Trump may not be enough. Some House Republicans believe they will have a hard time passing immigration legislation even with Trump's intervention, Politico reports. Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, says he believes Trump supports the compromise bill, which not all caucus members are ready to support. "He said he was behind it 1,000%," he says. "And whether that meant he was behind the compromise bill 1,000 percent, or whether he was behind whatever we can pass, either or, you can see it both ways."
  • "Tender age" shelters. The AP reports that under the deeply contentious border policy, the youngest of the more than 2,300 children separated from their parents have been sent to "tender age" shelters in Texas, which lawyers and other visitors have described as "play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis." Pediatrician Marsha Griffin says that while the shelters are clean and safe, the children, who do not know where their parents are, are often hysterical and acting out.
(More immigration stories.)

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