The administration finalized plans to target undocumented families in mass raids announced in advance – perhaps for maximum political effect – which are sowing anxiety in 10 cities.
Covering up a reversal in his bid to add a citizenship question to the census, Trump said liberals want to hide “illegal aliens in our midst” and questioned the loyalty of his opponents.
“This is part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of the American citizen,” he said.
At a “social media summit” of invited conservatives, Trump tried to redefine free speech as information favorable to him and warned Democrats were attempting a communist takeover.
“Some of you guys are out there. I mean it’s genius, but it’s bad,” Trump told a crowd including fringe social media personalities and conspiracy theorists who carry his message.
It was a glimpse of the bunker mentality shaping Trump’s reelection campaign, rooted in themes of national identify and patriotism, the singling out of outsiders and the demonization of Democrats as extreme radicals who want to destroy America.
Trump’s bet is that a fired-up base will counter the liberal enthusiasm stirring in the Democratic presidential primary and offer him a narrow but genuine path to a second term.
In many ways, Trump’s entire presidency has been an exercise in base management, given his aversion to the political center.
More from Stephen Collinson
And the President is a master of distraction – the tumult he stirred all day meant that the focus shifted f