Deal or no deal? Wall or no wall? Conservative or no conservative?

Late last night, in an update to a post about DACA, I noted that President Trump reportedly had just made a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi regarding DACA-style legislation. The alleged deal would protect the roughly 690,000 people covered by the current DACA program (but not, I take it, other “dreamers”) and would include a package of border security measures, excluding the wall, that’s “acceptable to both sides.”

This would be a good deal for Democrats. It would put DACA on a sound, permanent legal basis without giving Trump his wall or any other security provision deemed too harsh (i.e. effective) by Chuck and Nancy.

The White House, though, is denying that it struck such a deal. Sort of.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted:

While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.

Trump tweeted:

No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.

Trump’s tweet has a non-denial denial quality to it. Obviously, the details of any deal would have to be worked out and the final deal would be subject to a vote. But this doesn’t mean Trump didn’t reach the framework for an agreement.

Note too that this statement doesn’t mention the wall — only “massive border security,” whatever that means.

As for the wall, Trump said this:

The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.

Trump’s use of all caps notwithstanding, this isn’t the “big, beautiful wall” Trump campaigned on building. It’s a renovation job.

Building a big, beautiful wall was Trump’s most fundamental campaign promise. Now, he is walking away from that promise it as part of a deal that grants amnesty to almost 700,000 illegal immigrants — something he promised not to do.

We may be seeing the emergence of the real Trump presidency. Keep conservatives happy through judicial appointments and the like (but can we be entirely confident that Trump’s new friend Chuck won’t have a say in the next Supreme Court selection?). Keep the nationalist base happy by attacking the media and through gestures like pardoning Sheriff Joe. Steer a middle course — neither hawkish nor dovish — on foreign and national security policy. Govern as a centrist (and at times from the center-left) on domestic policy issues.

If this turns out to be the case, no one who paid attention to Donald Trump pre-2015 should be surprised.


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