Donald Trump's chief of staff John Kelly has been walking a fine line ever since he told lawmakers last week that Trump's immigration platform was "uninformed" during the 2016 election. Gosh, who could've known that would tweak the orange-maned Ego In Chief?
So when Kelly was trying to brief reporters this week on the white nationalist dream deal he and his nativist sidekick Stephen Miller masterminded, Trump stopped by unannounced to detonate a few bombs of his own. The New York Times reports:
To the surprise of the 20 or so reporters who were in the office, Mr. Trump dropped into a briefing on immigration that was only getting started. It was ostensibly just to say hello after Mr. Trump learned from Mr. Kelly that the session was taking place. Mr. Trump, despite his criticism of “fake news,” rarely misses a chance to speak with reporters.
The president boasted that he was eager to speak with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He emphasized his interest in a path to citizenship as a solution for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. He expressed joy about going to Davos, Switzerland.
The planned background briefing on immigration was abruptly called off after the president left.
Kelly likely figured he didn't have any time to waste in cleaning up Trump's latest self-made catastrophe.
But now that the briefing Kelly originally intended to give reporters has made it into the public sphere, he may end up having a lot more clean up to do than originally anticipated. Its seems that the immigration deal he and Miller conceptualized—which was ostensibly meant to box in Democrats by offering them legal protections for 1.8 million Dreamers while extracting $25 billion in wall funding and slapping the most sweeping limitations on legal immigration since the the 1920s—is blowing up in Trump's face.
First, Democrats and immigration groups announced it Dead On Arrival without a second thought—meaning Kelly and Miller totally misjudged any strategic advantage they might have and overplayed their hand. Nice work.