For Democrats Bashing Donald Trump Is Apparently More Important Than Their Policy Agenda


President Donald Trump meets with members of his Cabinet, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 10, 2018. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

In the Washington Post today Marc Thiessen has a column that, while condemning President Trump’s alleged “sh*thole” comments (and acknowledging there is a dispute over whether he said them), rightly points out that Democrats seem to have some really poor priorities.

They apparently think scoring petty political points against the President is more important than meaningful reform on one of the most contentious political issues in America today:

Last week, Democrats had a productive meeting with the president, during which he expressed a desire to help legalize not just the “dreamers” — those immigrants brought here illegally as children — but also the vast majority of the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants in this country who have not committed crimes. At one point, Trump turned to Durbin and said, “You want to know the truth, Dick? If we do this properly, DACA, you’re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat, I don’t care. . . . I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.”

This was an extraordinary offer from a president who has made cracking down on illegal immigration a central tenet of his agenda . Indeed, it is precisely because of Trump’s anti-illegal-immigration bona fides that he may be able to deliver what Republican and Democratic presidents before him could not. Just as only Richard Nixon could go to China, Trump may be the only president who can sign comprehensive immigration reform into law.

In other words, Democrats are perhaps faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to resolve this issue. Knowing this, if you are a Democratic leader who truly cares about the fate of illegal immigrants, and you are in a closed-door meeting with a president who can lead them out of the shadows, and that president makes a crude remark, what do you do? Do you ignore it and keep working toward an agreement that could change millions of lives? Or do you publicize what the president said in order to score political points?

If you’re Senator Durbin, you go for the political points, I guess.

This incident illustrates the larger problem in Washington. Governing the country has taken a backseat to political theater. When embarrassing your political enemy becomes more important than pursuing policy which could help millions of people you claim to want to help, there’s a problem.

If Trump said what he’s alleged to have said, then shame on him. But I’m far less interested in yet another outrage moment over yet another of Trump’s antics (again, presuming he said what he’s alleged to have said) than I am in meaningful progress toward the sort of immigration reform which has been unobtainable in the past.