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Posts published in September 2016

Trump 69: Immigration day

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On August 31, Donald Trump's immigration day, he managed to undertake a mesh of events that, hour by hour, demonstrated bad practice for anyone aspiring to the White House.

You can start with the visit to Mexico City to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Actual public officials know that visits of that type, between heads of state of countries important to one another, are not done of the spur of the moment, but are carefully planned, with specific results intended and sought. Trump dreamed it up and carried it out on the spur of the moment. This isn't the way leaders in either the United States or Mexico traditionally operate.

There was this much to be said for Trump's visit: His stated goals, stated repeatedly in the course of campaigning for president, do affect Mexico directly, from his plan to build a wall between the two countries - a wall Mexico would pay for - to the deportation of millions of people from the United States back home. The president of Mexico took issue with a number of Trump's statements, and - taking advantage of the translator situated between - called him a liar and before early in September.

Things got no better when he took off for Arizona and delivered his talk on immigration, which focused on doubling down on the harsher provisions from early in his campaign. It was both unrealistic and likely to aggravate most Americans. It also included remarkably few details.

His idea of specificity was to describe opponent Hillary Clinton's immigration proposal as "open borders, let everybody come and destroy our country, by the way." That bore no more relation to reality than did his description of immigration as a crisis; the reality of more people exiting the United States to head south of the border than are entering illegally, over the last eight years, would not fit his narrative very well.

From Josh Marshall at Talkingpoints memo: "As Trump has fudged on whether he'll deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, he's tried to anchor himself on the Wall. In other words, well, maybe we'll deport everyone or only 'the bad ones' or something. But the real thing is the Wall. And Mexico will pay for it. If that gets jettisoned, he doesn't have a lot of his campaign positions left to fall back on."

Immigration Day, pitched as one of the most important days in Trump's campaig for the presidency, was a day of frantically sown chaos and fear. - rs