What's happening at the US border
President Trump's views on the family separations at the border can be summed up in these two quotes from his meeting today with business leaders.
In Trump's first remark, he is essentially saying the policy acts as a deterrent for people coming to the US:
- "We want a great country. We want a country with heart. But when people come up, they have to know they can't get in. Otherwise it's never going to stop."
Trump then lays out the separation policy:
- "When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away. Now, we don't have to prosecute them, but then we're not prosecuting them for coming in illegally. That's not good."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that GOP members met today about immigration and family separation problem.
He said "all of the members of Republican conference support a plan that keeps families together while their immigration status is determined."
"I understand the President has called on us to fix the problem and obviously for that to occur in the Senate would require bipartisan discussions,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Brad Parscale, who President Trump has tapped to run his 2020 reelection campaign, sent a tweet this afternoon calling on the President to fire Jeff Sessions and end the Mueller investigation.
"You can’t obstruct something that was phony against you. The IG report gives @realDonaldTrump the truth to end it all," Parscale tweeted.
But according to a source familiar with the strategy here, Parscale is with other Republican operatives who are tearing their hair out about the child separation story drowning out the IG report.
But here's the key context: Though six in 10 Republicans are OK with the child separation policy, control of the House will be fought in suburbs and swing districts where this is an affront to key voters. The president’s campaign manager calling for his attorney general to be fired is an attempt to wrestle the story back to ground they think benefits Republicans.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, criticized the Trump administration policy that forced the separation of immigrant children and parents at the border, saying the US is "better than that."
"Even if you believe immigration should be halted entirely, we all should be able to agree that in the United States of America, we will not intentionally separate children from their parents," he said. "We are better than that. We are so much better. We should be able to agree that we will not keep kids in child internment camps indefinitely."
He added: "What country is that?”
President Trump hugged an American flag as he walked off the stage at a small business owners event.
Trump's speech to the crowd addressed the controversial border separations, the upcoming House immigration bill and other issues.
Here's the moment:
This is at least the third time Donald Trump has hugged an American flag on stage. Today may be the first since becoming President. He also did it at a rally in Tampa on Oct 24, 2016, and August 19,2015 in Derry, New Hampshire.
President Trump vowed to make changes to the House immigration bill — he declined to say which bill he was referring to — and almost certainly surprising members who were hoping to vote this week.
"So we have a House that’s getting ready to finalize an immigration package that they’re going to brief me on later, and then I’m gonna make changes to it," Trump said. "We have one chance to get it right. We might as well get it right, or let's just keep it going."
House Republicans have been working on two proposals: One more moderate one, and another more conservative option, known as the Goodlatte bill.
Last week, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Trump fully supported and would willingly sign either.
“The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill," Shah said in a statement. "In this morning's interview, he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, and not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills.”
President Trump said he will soon seek authorization for a measure that would cut foreign aid to countries sending waves of migrants to the US.
"When countries abuse us by sending people up — not their best — we’re not going to give any more aid to those countries," he said at a small business event in Washington. "Why should we?"
Trump has threatened to withhold aid over immigration before.
In April, Trump said Honduras' US aid is "in play" because of a caravan of migrants moving through Mexico who plan to turn themselves in and request asylum once they make it to the US border.
In May, at a roundtable discussion about immigration, he announced his administration was devising a plan to withhold US foreign aid funds from the home countries of immigrants who illegally enter the United States.
President Trump said he doesn't "want the children to be taken away from parents" — but added that it's necessary if the US wants to prosecute the parents.
"We want to solve family separation, and I don't want the children to be taken away from parents, and when you are prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away."
Trump added that he wants to "end the border crisis" by giving officials the authority and resources to "detain and remove illegal immigrant families altogether."
President Trump issued another attack on the news media, claiming the press is assisting criminal immigrants.
"They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe," Trump said.
"They know it. They know exactly what they're doing, and it should be stopped," Trump said. "Because what's going on is very unfair to the people of our country, and they violate the law."