For almost 90 minutes Sunday morning, immigrants and those undocumented U.S. residents who were brought to the country as children could reasonably have thought that Donald Trump had wished them a “HAPPY EASTER!”
But a couple hours after firing off that all-caps blip of holiday cheer on Twitter, the president was back to the decidedly un-Christian, nativist fearmongering that defines his public brand.
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming,” Trump tweeted at 9:56 am, an hour and 29 minutes after the Easter tweet.
In the same tweet, he seemed to commit himself against any compromise that would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides alternatives to deportation for undocumented people who entered the country as minors. “Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!” he wrote.
Technically that’s a newsy reversal, as Trump has previously insisted that the only reason DACA hasn’t already been renewed is that Democrats wouldn’t act on his supposed desire to fix and extend the program. But such claims were always dubious, given Trump’s core nativism on immigration policy and his chronic difficult keeping his word when it comes to dealmaking.
The president’s once-avowed desire to do business on DACA has been enough to buy off both Democratic senate resisters like Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and harumphing Republicans like Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The Easter tweet about caravans and nuclear politics only confirms what a bad bet such senators have made in giving Trump a vote he needed in exchange for a promise of talks on DACA.
Trump continued in the same lane throughout the morning, tweeting another demand for a border wall and renewed threats to rip up trade pacts with Mexico and Canada. “They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA,” he said in another tweet.
In a fourth that followed quickly, he showed again that he’ll never actually support DACA or anything like it. Those “caravans” from Mexico? They “are all trying to take advantage of DACA,” Trump wrote, as families around the country marked a holiday celebrating a man murdered after preaching a messianic socialism focused on aiding the vulnerable. “They want in on the act!”