It is never the flip that gets a politician in trouble. It is the flop. People are entitled to change their mind. But once they have changed their mind, flopping back to their original position seems like rank opportunism.
Until he ran for President of the United States, Donald Trump supported the Chamber of Commerce’s open borders position. In 2012, while supporting Mitt Romney, Donald Trump still criticized the then Republican nominee for having too harsh and uncaring an immigration policy.
Trump has, in the past, bragged about hiring immigrants and has taken the position that illegal immigrants should not be rounded up and sent packing. In fact, Trump once supported the DREAM Act and believed illegal aliens who are children should be allowed to stay in the United States. That was all before he started his 2016 campaign and declared Mexicans rapists.
Once he got in the race, Trump declared he would round up all 11 million illegal aliens in the country and send them packing. When reporters pressed him on the outrage his plan generated, he said the nation had “become so politically correct as a country that we can’t even walk. We can’t think properly. We can’t do anything.”
“We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out, they will come back, some will come back, the best, through a process … it may not be a very quick process, but I think that’s very fair and very fine,” Trump declared in a late February debate against Rubio and Cruz.
In March, confronted by NPR’s Cokie Roberts about his immigration plan, Trump said, “I talk about deporting people that are here illegally….We have a country or we don’t.”
On Trump’s website, he calls for tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officers to round up the 11 million illegal aliens in the country. “Millions of people come to the United States but refuse to leave, without consequence,” Trump declared on his website. “This is a threat to national security. Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties.”
In November of 2015, Trump said he would create a deportation force to round up all 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and send them packing. “You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” Trump told Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Don’t forget, Mika, that you have millions of people that are waiting in line to come into this country and they’re waiting to come in legally. And I always say the wall, we’re going to build the wall. It’s going to be a real deal. It’s going to be a real wall.”
This has been one of only two consistent policies Donald Trump has maintained since entering the Presidential race. He has waffled on healthcare, going from attacking Obamacare to calling for a universal, government funded healthcare plan. He has waffled on the minimum wage first saying it killed jobs then advocating an increase to $10 an hour. Every word of every clause of every sentence uttered in every breath by Donald Trump has been subject to change, often in the very next sentence, except his plan to deport all 11 million illegal aliens. Until now.
On Sean Hannity’s television program, Trump declared he would just do what George Bush and Barack Obama have done. He would go after the criminal elements, but ignore those illegal aliens who have been law abiding since they got here. He would require illegals to pay any back taxes they owed then would let them stay here, but not give them citizenship. That is the plan Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both supported that Trump savaged in the primaries.
Now he is embracing it. The only other policy Trump has consistently maintained is his pro-Russia foreign policy, allowing Vladimir Putin to invade whichever allies of ours Putin chooses. For months now, Republican stenographers and apologists have reassured Republicans that Trump would not cave on plans to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. How exactly can people trust Trump on that when he is now flip-flopping on the signature plank of his campaign? The answer is simple. You can trust Hillary Clinton to keep all of her promises and you can trust Donald Trump to break all of his. Neither is an acceptable option.
The only thing funny about this is to watch the meltdown Trump supporters are now having. Some of us, of course, told you this would happen.
UPDATE: By the way, as several people have noted to me since I posted this, the only Presidential candidate who did not favor a path to legalization who still holds to that position is Ted Cruz, but of course the Trump people think he’s a liar, kinda like Trump.