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Conservatives have compared President Donald Trump’s possible deal with Democratic leaders to codify protections for DACA recipients into law in exchange for enhanced border security measures to one of the most infamous broken promises in presidential history.
The details of Trump’s Wednesday night dinner arrangement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi remain up in the air. But reports that Trump may have agreed to protect “Dreamers,” possibly giving those childhood arrivals into the US some level of amnesty while not guaranteeing funding for a border wall, sparked outrage among some of prominent conservatives and members of Trump’s base.
The comparison they made between Trump’s deal with Schumer and Pelosi – which was a far cry from the immigration rhetoric Trump bellowed on the campaign trail – was to a recent Republican president who similarly went back on a promise. It was President George H.W. Bush’s infamous campaign promise, “Read my lips: No new taxes.”
Faced with a budget crisis during his term in office, Bush raised taxes. The conservative backlash to that move is credited with helping cost him reelection in 1992, when he was defeated by President Bill Clinton. Reform Party nominee Ross Perot, who ran on a conservative platform, pulled many votes from voters who likely would have otherwise voted for Bush.
Tweeting Wednesday night that if Trump “doesn’t keep that promise” to build the border wall “and goes for amnesty,” Fox News host Sean Hannity said “it will be the political equivalent [of] ‘read my lips, no new taxes.'”
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro echoed that sentiment in his own tweet.
“If Trump signs a clean DREAM Act with no wall funding, it will make ‘read my lips, no new taxes’ seem like a big nothing,” he wrote.
And conservative radio host and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh called Trump “President George HW Trump.”
“Read my lips … no amnesty and we’re building a wall!” Walsh tweeted. “Smh.”
The apparent agreement to protect recipients of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, comes just a week after the Trump administration announced it would be phased out within six months. The buffer period was designed to provide Congress with the opportunity to replace the law if it sees fit.
Trump said he and the Democratic leaders came “fairly close” to a deal that would require “massive border security” while he spoke to reporters outside the White House on Thursday morning.
“The wall will come later,” he said.
But then, while traveling to Florida to visit victims of Hurricane Irma, Trump said, “If we don’t have the wall, we’re doing nothing.”
Schumer and Pelosi have since reiterated “both sides” agreed the wall would “not be any part of this agreement.”
“The President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it,” they said in a statement, which outlined that the trio discussed new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border, and existing congressional legislation as possible border security measures.