Even Agatha Christie might find this whodunit fascinating. It starts with a tweet from Donald Trump clarifying the meaning of his six-month extension of DACA. Trump tried to allay fears that enforcement action would begin immediately, a concern that got raised from White House talking points advising DACA recipients to prepare to get out of the US. This morning, Trump tweeted that the status quo would remain in place for the entire six months, with “no action” on current recipients at all:
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
What prompted this? Ah, that’s where the whodunit comes into play. On its face, it looks like a simple reiteration of Trump’s initial declaration that the DACA program would continue for six months while not allowing any new applicants, pending Congressional action. Despite the White House talking points, Trump’s order does not end DACA for at least that long, and probably longer if Congress still hasn’t acted. That’s one reason that conservatives aren’t exactly enamored of Trump’s actions, including Steve Bannon:
“Look what he did on DACA the other day. OK, I don’t agree with that DACA decision, but I understand how he struggled with it. I understand how he’s giving a possibility of a legislative thing,” Bannon said in his interview, which will be broadcast Sunday night on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “And he said even last night in a tweet, even a tweet, he would rethink it. Trust me, the guys on the far right, the guys on the conservative side, are not happy with this.”
They’ll be even less happy after Nancy Pelosi took credit for Trump’s tweet. In a meeting this morning, Pelosi told her House Democratic caucus that she had asked Trump to clarify the policy in order to assuage panic among those with unlawful status. Not only did Trump comply, Pelosi later told the press, he also assured her that he wanted DACA to get passed by Congress into statutory form:
Pelosi on phone call with Trump about DACA: "This is what I asked the President to do and… the tweet appeared" https://t.co/8e4uPHdQ4Z
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 7, 2017
It turns out President Donald Trump sent his reassuring tweet about so-called “Dreamers” at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Pelosi revealed the news to fellow Democratic House members at a meeting Thursday morning. She says she spoke to Trump by phone and asked him to tweet to make clear that “Dreamers” wouldn’t be subject to deportation during the six months Trump has given Congress to find a solution for them.
That’s according to a Democratic aide who was not authorized to publicly discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
At first the story got reported that Pelosi called Trump to ask for the tweet, but later was corrected to note that Trump called Pelosi — as she herself notes above.
So did Pelosi really push Trump to tweet that out? Probably. Does it represent a change in approach? Not at all. And if Pelosi now claims that Trump supports a statutory form of DACA, that doesn’t seem like a change either. That’s why Trump warned that he would extend DACA if Congress didn’t act. That wasn’t to pressure Democrats into compromise, which is why immigration hardliners have been scratching their heads the last couple of days, wondering where the nationalist/immigration hardliner Donald Trump went. That’s the real whodunit.