Just two days after issuing a call for bipartisanship, President Donald Trump returned Thursday to needling Democrats and turned to the prospect of bouncing them from office in the 2018 election.
The President, in remarks at a Republican congressional retreat in West Virginia, knocked Democrats for a lack of applause during his State of the Union address and sought to shift the onus of reaching an immigration deal on the opposing party.
While Trump initially suggested Republicans may need to compromise to reach a deal with Democrats on immigration, he then turned his sights to the 2018 election as an alternative.
“To get it done we’ll have to make some compromises,” Trump said, “unless we elect more Republicans.”
“If we win more, we don’t have to compromise so much,” he added.
Trump also sought to pushback on Democrats framing of the immigration discussions as working to protect “Dreamers,” a term used to refer to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, a program that protected undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
“Some people call it Dreamers. It’s not Dreamers. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s just much different than Dreamers,” the President said, before referencing a line from his State of the Union speech. “And I said the other night, we have Dreamers, too.”
Trump’s comments came on the heels of his State of the Union address on Tuesday, when the President pointed to immigration and infrastructure as key areas for cooperation and bipartisanship in the coming year.
But Democrats’ cool reception to his immigration deal framework – despite proposing a path to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers” – left Trump claiming Thursday that Democrats have failed to live up to the “good game” he said they talk.
“We’re getting very little help from the Democrats,” Trump said. “They talk a good game with DACA, but they don’t produce. Either they come on board or we’re going to have to work really hard to get” more Republicans elected.
The President’s criticism of Democrats also went beyond policy, with Trump knocking Democrats for not standing up and applauding during his national address when he touted sinking unemployment numbers.
Trump noted that there was “zero movement from the Democrats” as he touted record-low unemployment numbers among African-Americans and Hispanics and accused Democrats of not wanting to see the country succeed.
“They sat there stone cold,” Trump said. “They’d rather see us not do well than see our country do great and that’s not good, that’s not good. We have to change that.”