Trump blames Dems for family separations

President Donald Trump takes questions outside the White House on immigration policies resulting in family separations.

Posted: Jun 16, 2018 9:54 AM
Updated: Jun 16, 2018 9:57 AM

House Republicans were in full-on damage control Friday morning as they sought to downplay President Donald Trump's comments that he wouldn't support the GOP compromise bill.

After a day of confusion that threatened the future of the legislation, the White House issued a statement on the record that Trump supported the bill along with a more conservative piece of legislation.

"The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill. 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," White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

After toiling away for weeks on a hard-fought compromise bill that tackled border security and even delivered Trump his campaign promise of a border wall, Republican aides and members involved in the discussions were taken aback by the President's impromptu interview with Fox News on the White House lawn where Trump insinuated he wouldn't support a bill that had been negotiated with his administration's involvement. Many members were desperate to believe that the President had either been referring to another bill or would reverse course later in the day -- while conservatives cheered the President as rightfully demanding changes to the bill.

One White House official who was watching the interview in a room with others said there were audible gasps when the President made the comment as staff immediately realized the potential consequences of the President's remarks.

On Friday afternoon, Trump tweeted, but it did little to settle the question of where he officially stood on the compromise legislation.

"The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!" Trump tweeted.

Before the on-the-record statement, the White House official told CNN on Friday after the tweet that Trump did indeed support the House compromise immigration bill, despite saying otherwise in the morning. The same person admitted that Trump's tweet had done little to clarify his position.

The official also said that congressional leadership had reached out to the White House to express their unhappiness with the President's comments.

The White House official said Trump "misunderstood" the question on Fox about the moderate immigration bill and that the President thought he was referring to another moderate effort, a rare procedural move known as a discharge petition that would have forced a series of immigration votes on the House floor including on bills that didn't have the backing of GOP leaders.

The lack of clarity led GOP leaders to put their plans for the bill on hold.

One GOP whip aide told CNN, "It's pretty basic. We aren't going to whip anything unless it has Trump's support. That's why we need more clarity."

The confusion engulfed the House chamber during the last vote series of the week and was emblematic of an exercise that members have managed before during tax revisions and health care where Trump famously held a celebration of an Obamacare repeal bill in the White House Rose Garden only to turn around and call the bill "mean" later.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a moderate Republican from Florida, told reporters that he was confident Trump would sign the legislation.

"I think it's important for everybody to take a deep breath, look at the bill, judge it on its merits, not what people are saying about the bill," Diaz-Balart said.

But the entire episode revealed how often Republicans expect Trump to change his mind.

Mark Walker, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that he believed Trump's earlier comments were not necessarily definitive.

"With the text just coming out (Thursday) who knows what kind of full briefing there has been on it. I think the part of it he will like is the trigger mechanism that if the appropriation, funding and the spending on the wall is not delivered on then there is no other part of the bill," Walker said.

"He keeps us all excited about how we are going to get things done," Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican from Florida and supporter of the compromise bill, told CNN.

Conservatives, meanwhile, said the President was rightly demanding more aggressive measures. Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said the President was right to voice opposition to the compromise bill and said he hopes Trump doesn't walk back his statement.

"I think he's correctly gauging where the American people are on the issue and informing the legislature that they've got to go back and do some more work," Perry said.

Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was adamant the President was not confused about which bill he was talking about.

"That is not accurate," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
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Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
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Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
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Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
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Jay197830
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Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
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Mahoning21795588
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Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
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Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
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