Trump’s Border ‘Compromise’ Not Going Over Very Well

The initial reaction to President Trump's proposal to reopen the government is not going over well on either side of the aisle.

While it’s still early, the initial reaction to President Trump’s proposed solution to the immigration and border security issues at that heart of the ongoing government shutdown, which entered its 30th day today, is not positive to say the least:

WASHINGTON — Immigrant advocates denounced it as cruel. The conservative right howled that it was amnesty.

What President Trump billed on Saturday as a compromise to end the country’s longest government shutdown pleased neither the Democratic congressional leaders whose buy-in he needs to strike a deal nor the core supporters whose backing has always been at the heart of his insistence on a border wall.

Instead, in offering temporary protections for about one million immigrants at risk of deportation in exchange for funding for a wall, Mr. Trump did something rarely seen during his presidency. He tried to reach beyond his base of supporters — which polls have begun to show is losing patience with him as the partial shutdown drags into its fifth week — and speak to a broader swath of Americans.

The Saturday afternoon speech from the West Wing was an attempt by Mr. Trump to, at the very least, shift the narrative of the past several weeks and show that rather than spoiling for a longer shutdown fight or making unreasonable demands, he was looking for a broadly acceptable way out of a morass he once boasted he was proud to wade into.

“I think you could tell by the president’s remarks today,” Vice President Mike Pence said, “that we’re reaching out.”

Yet in seeking to inch toward the center, Mr. Trump alienated portions of his hard-right base, the core supporters he most depends on and the group he and his closest aides have most feared losing. That raised the possibility that, in his zeal to get out of an intractable situation, he may have landed himself in the worst of all worlds, without a clear solution or the support of his most ardent followers.

The tensions and anger over the policy have been quietly playing out in the West Wing as well, as Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, fended off Stephen Miller, the architect of much of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda. Mr. Kushner has long been a proponent of protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, while Mr. Miller has pressed for aggressive measures to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration.

In recent days, as White House officials had been working out the details of the compromise, Mr. Miller intervened to narrow the universe of immigrants who would receive protection, according to people familiar with the internal discussions who described them on the condition of anonymity.

While the original idea had been to include protections for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program known as DACA that protected those illegally brought to the United States as children, Mr. Trump ultimately proposed shielding only the 700,000 who are enrolled.

(…)

The vast majority of Democrats knocked the approach. While many of them have pressed for measures to protect DACA recipients and immigrants living in the United States under Temporary Protected Status enacted when their countries were destabilized by war or catastrophe, most regard the proposal he put forth on Saturday as woefully inadequate. It offers only three years of protections for the DACA recipients and those who hold T.P.S., which the Trump administration has also moved to end for several countries.

“This is not an amnesty bill,” Mr. Pence said. “There is no pathway to citizenship in this proposal.”

As I noted last night, the initial reaction from Democratic leadership has been overwhelmingly negative. Both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the proposal, as have other Democrats who have had an opportunity to speak since last night. More importantly for the President, though, is the fact that his proposal is not going over well among the conservative pundits that he often relies on for support and affirmation:

President Donald Trump broke a fundamental rule of modern politics Saturday when he outlined a new plan to get his border wall and re-open the federal government: Never split your own party.

The basic idea is to give 1 million immigrants — 700,000 so-called Dreamers who were brought to the country illegally as children and 300,000 refugees facing expiration of their “temporary protected status” — a three-year shield from deportation in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for the wall.

While Republican leaders on Capitol Hill praised his leadership, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., readily agreed to bring his proposal up for a vote on the floor next week, conservatives were quick to criticize the president for offering “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants.

“Amnesty encourages further illegal immigration, incentivizes the tragedy of human trafficking, and undermines our citizens’ confidence in the rule of law,” James Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation said in a statement released shortly after Trump delivered remarks on the plan from the White House. “Amnesty should not be part of any border security deal, especially given that many who today oppose a wall have publicly supported and even voted for physical barriers in the recent past.”

The obvious problem for Trump is that he managed to divide his own ranks without much chance of breaking the wall of Democratic opposition to his border barrier. Congressional Democrats were quick to reject his plan.

Although it’s early, the reaction among conservatives seems to be two-fold.

On the one hand there are those such as Coulter and other hardliners who are already lining up behind the idea that any concessions on an issue like the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protective Status (TPS) programs, the latter of which is a program that has existed for some thirty years and allowed people from war-ravaged and other imperiled areas to stay in the United States, are essentially a form of “amnesty.” While the law has always stated that TPS status is, as the name says, “temporary,” previous Administrations dating back to the 1990s have allowed people to stay in the United States under protective status due to the conditions in their country. Last year, though, the Trump Administration announced plans to essentially end TPS status for tens if not hundreds of thousands of people and to send them back to countries that, in many cases, are in worse shape than they were when they left and notwithstanding the fact that these people have made lives for themselves and raised families here in the United States. Notwithstanding all of this, to the immigration hardliners offering anything to these groups, even temporary protection in exchange for partial wall funding constitutes giving in to the Democrats and, as Ann Coulter put it, amnesty.

On the other hand, many conservatives, even those who are not ostensibly pro-Trump, seem to see this proposal as, to borrow the phrase, the President’s trump card. In their view, by putting the offer on the table the President has backed the Democrats into a corner in which they will be the ones who will appear to be recalcitrant if they refuse to negotiate further. As I noted yesterday, there is certainly a risk on Democrats part in being perceived in this manner, but it’s far too early to know if this is what indeed will happen if Democrats don’t use the President’s offer as part of an effort to open further negotiations. We’ll get a better idea of that as the week goes on.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Notwithstanding all of this, to the immigration hardliners offering anything to these groups, even temporary protection in exchange for partial wall funding.

    What?

  2. Mikey says:

    Who said Trump’s not a uniter?

    Bahahahahahaha…

    On the other hand, many conservatives, even those who are not ostensibly pro-Trump, seem to see this proposal as, to borrow the phrase, the President’s trump card. In their view, by putting the offer on the table the President has backed the Democrats into a corner in which they will be the ones who will appear to be recalcitrant if they refuse to negotiate further.

    They might hope for that, but the transparent awfulness of the President’s proposal has essentially handed the Democrats an even stronger position.

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  3. @Teve:

    The end of that paragraph got cut off. Fixed.

  4. Scott says:

    One clue that Trump is not really interested in negotiation is that he wants everything done publically so he can be seen as a negotiator. It happened weeks ago when he tried to sandbagged Speaker Pelosi and Sen Schumer on TV. It happened last week when he made an Oval Office speech. And again yesterday, when he telegraphed an announcement and then went on to make a proposal.

    None of this is serious. But it fits him to a T. He’s a weak and immoral character who can’t fire people to their faces, who can’t negotiate with peers, who is afraid to go to war zones, who cannot comfort the afflicted, the list goes on.

    By the way, here’s a link from the San Antonio Express-News to a long form article on the border. https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/the-U-S-Mexico-border-locked-in-distress-13544116.php

    It’s worth reading.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Considering that Trump has a habit of reneging on his promises, particularly when said promises get howls from his supporters, why should any of this be considered a serious offer at all?

    When you have a reputation for breaking your word, you can’t really complain when people brush off your offers.

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  6. Eric Florack says:

    @Scott:

    One clue that Trump is not really interested in negotiation is that he wants everything done publically so he can be seen as a negotiator.

    That’s something that the Democrats used to call “transparency”. They gave it lip service but never managed to actually be transparent. Trump actually does it. And you got a problem with that?

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  7. Teve says:

    So what’s it going to be, is Trump going to declare a national emergency and appropriate money from other areas, or is Mitch going to have to suck it up and override Trump’s veto?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    trump: “Give me what I want and I won’t kill these 2 hostages I have repeatedly tried to kill before but am currently barred from killing by our antiquated, partisan, and WHOLLY UNFAIR court system that keeps stopping me from doing whatever I want.”
    …………………
    “Also, have I mentioned lately how UNFAIR our courts are? They are very unfair! Bigly UNFAIR!”

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  9. Franklin says:

    I’ve got a proposal.

    In exchange for re-opening government, let’s give Trump $1 billion specifically for the wall (not just border security) and see how far he gets with it. We promise to put his name in big letters on the wall facing the north – yes, towards the United States.

    He can be proud of his chunk which should stretch a few hundred miles, and the rest of us will be constantly reminded of what happens when you elect someone of his character to be President. Deal?

  10. MarkedMan says:

    And so the cracks in the facade start to become apparent to even his most ardent supporters. Back when he first appeared to get the nomination, I said that even if the Party no longer had a structure capable of doing what was necessary, i.e. gnawing off it’s diseased leg to get out of the trap, the individual Republicans trying to ride his wake would come to realize the folly – just before they were sucked under to drown. Those of us who followed the Clown Prince’s reign of error throughout the 80’s, 90’s and into the oughts had seen this play out over and over again with casinos, hotels, airlines, football franchises, universities, wine and, up until the point he was bailed out by the Russians and their money laundering needs, increasingly blatant development schemes never meant to get off the ground but rather to siphon off early stage fees.

    It always starts with optimism. His “partners” (for that’s how his marks initially see themselves) are delighted to have latched onto the fame and public attention that goes with this once in a lifetime lfinancial genius”, this undeniably “super rich” man. Slowly they realize that Trump actually doesn’t know anything, and that none of that legendary wealth seems to be going into the project. If they are going to make this work it will be on them. But so be it, they are men of the world and they can make it happen themselves. Until the next phase, when they realize they gave him too much power up front and his incredible stupity and inability to learn anything is taking them down. At this point the smart ones accept their losses and quietly head for the door. Leaving behind only the uber-gullible and Trump himself, fully in charge. Free to follow every stupid idea he has, free to drive out every competent person working on the project, until it all falls apart into lawsuits and recriminations.

    And so we see it here. McConnell has quietly gone off into the corner, silently spooling out all the rope that Trump will eventually hang himself with. And leaves The Moron in Chief to come up with his grand plan: he will craft a deal that threads the needle between the White Supremicist wing of the party and those who think people with brown deserve to be treated like human beings.

    Has a single senior Republican gotten behind this plan? Heck, has a single elected Republican of any sort? They are letting him fail. They are letting him own it. And they are letting everyone see him for what he is.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin:

    Deal?

    I could go with that but I feel the need to point out that in all likelihood the only wall that would ever get built would be of paper and stretch from one courthouse to another and the name on it would be “trump v. Common Sense”.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    POLITICO has a piece on how the shutdown is affecting big companies like Boeing and Booz Allen. These guys all have big money lobbyists. That’s how this ends, with GOP senators having to choose between the base and their funders.

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  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    GOP is already admitting the President’s proposal was actually a bad faith offer intended to trick Democrats into moving the settlement zone so that Trump could renege again and demand more concessions:

    GOP senator: Trump’s ‘straw man proposal’ not meant to become law

    “The vote this week in the Senate is not to pass the bill, it is to open up and say: ‘Can we debate this? Can we amend it? Can we make changes?’” Lankford said Sunday.

  14. Kathy says:

    “Why do things that happen to stupid people happen to me?” Donald Trump.

    It’s very likely some DACA recipients will be citizens someday, and almost certain their children will be. When this happens, the quotation for the GOP to keep in mind is “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Yep. This is why I say any ‘deal’ with Trump requires legislation passed and signed into law, including funding and administrative regs before we agree to anything. Remember Reagan’s ‘trust but verify?’ He was dealing with the Soviets who were rather more reliable than the Russian Asset and his gang of toadies.

    No trust, none at all. No deals. No negotiations. Open the government, show us a done deal – a permanent path to citizenship for DACA – and maybe we pry loose a billion for the big baby. Anything short of that isn’t even worth considering.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    I appreciate the way the white supremacist party is driving the nation’s largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority into the Democratic Party. They’re even alienating Asians. We get every color but white, every educational level but low, and every gender but toxic male.

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  17. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve been wondering how all this would end. After the Great Depression the world got fascism and war. After the Great Recession we got “populism” in Europe. Praise gawd we had a GOP incumbent and got Obama to hold things together in the immediate aftermath. I’m very worried that with the Southern strategy, the GOP base, the Billionaire Boys Club “libertarian” funders, and the Russians we could end up with oligarchy. I’m beginning to feel like I see a glimmer of hope. Triggered by Pelosi hanging tough, the GOPs may schism, with the hard core base going off in a corner to sulk while a few Senators switch parties.

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  18. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: we’re not out of the woods, and we could still veer hard nativist right, but frankly what may save us is that Trump is simply incompetent with power.

  19. Teve says:

    They’re even alienating Asians. We get every color but white, every educational level but low, and every gender but toxic male.

    and educated whites are two to one against Trump. All Trump has are the uneducated and Evangelical whites.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s like the scorpion told the turtle while they were both drowning: “It’s my nature.”

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Exactly, Trump is the embodiment of Dunning-Kruger. And he thinks small. Faced with the opportunity of a century, he’s going for Trump DC level corruption.

    And I think the window for oligarchy, riding the back of nativism, is closing. It looks like the kids are alright and demographic change, urbanization, and spreading education are against them. On the other hand, wealth concentration (see Piketty) is in their favor. They’ll be back unless we can find a set of Supremes who understand the difference between money and speech.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It falls into the category of a nice problem to have, but the more interest groups that the party has, the more difficult it becomes to craft a platform that gets them motivated to vote. Dems have yet to crack the code on Hispanic voters despite Tiny and general Repub hostility.

    Oh and Tiny’s base maybe cracking https://thebulwark.com/trumps-slippage-in-support-is-real/

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That is a really good point to make, a useful reminder. Yeah, we have the problem of herding cats. So long as there’s a dog it tends to work, but absent a unifying threat. . .

  24. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: Here in the D. C. metro area the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington runs a promotion called “Restaurant Week,” where many local restaurants offer great deals on really good food. Multi-course prix fixe meals that would normally go for $75+ are offered for half that. It’s fantastic, and the restaurants do a lot of business.

    Except for this year. This year they are, for the first time, extending Restaurant Week, because it is bringing in 20% less due to the ongoing “shutdown.”

    (I put “shutdown” in quotes because the government is not remotely shut down. Three-quarters of the affected employees are still working their regular schedules. The only thing shut down is their paychecks.)

    This “shutdown” crap has far-reaching effects, even if the free labor of hundreds of thousands of people does mask those effects somewhat.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    Chris Wallace Of Fox News just challenged Pence: the reason you don’t want to reopen the government is because you want the leverage. Without that you would go nowhere.

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    A few thoughts:

    1) The Democrats would be idiots to take this deal. DACA is already on hold for at least a year. And the second Trump gets his wall built, he’ll put the Dreamers on the other side of it. You want a permanent wall? Make a permanent fix to DACA.

    2) DACA has a lot of support among moderates and conservatives. 90% of the country wants Dreamers to stay and vast majorities of Republicans do. Trump is listening to the radical flank of his own party who want no deal at all.

    3) Trump is a bad actor. He could renege on any deal tomorrow. Make the deal with Congressional Republicans and pass it over his veto. That’s the only way this ends (assuming you can get enough GOPers to break ranks).

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  27. Teve says:

    @Hal_10000:

    And the second Trump gets his wall built, he’ll put the Dreamers on the other side of it.

    Trump will be dead before that wall gets built.

    Make the deal with Congressional Republicans and pass it over his veto. That’s the only way this ends (assuming you can get enough GOPers to break ranks).

    I can only imagine this ends one of two ways. 1) Trump declares a national emergency and appropriates the funding. 2) Congressional Republicans override him. Which do you think will happen?

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Oh and Tiny’s base maybe cracking https://thebulwark.com/trumps-slippage-in-support-is-real/

    The data seem to say so, and I’d like to believe so, but that article was written by Bill Kristol.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: 3) Trump offers, or accepts, a deal of Wall for an unrelated, non-immigration thing.

    I’m not sure he could get the DACA proposal through the Senate. If it was meant as a legitimate proposal, it was a terrible one, since he probably couldn’t deliver if he wanted to (also it’s not enough, but he might have expected to compromise on ten years or permanent, and this was an opening gambit).

  30. Gustopher says:

    So, who is looking forward to the debt ceiling fight in a few months?

    I’m hoping (against reason and history) that this entire process leaves everyone so exhausted that they just pass the damn thing in the dead of night, by voice vote.

  31. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Trump will be dead before that wall gets built.

    Let me get Poseidon. I’m sure if we help him, he can get the wall built in six months.

    Don’t worry. We know the Odyssean Method to bring it down in one day. 🙂

  32. grumpy realist says:

    Article over at TPM analysing what McConnell’s up to. Basically, he’s decided since Trump reneged so publicly on the previous wall legislation that he’s going to keep quiet and let Trump butt heads against the Democratic majority in the House.

    Has Trump ever realised that if you get a reputation for not keeping your word some day you’re gonna run out of marks who will trust you? It took him many years in NYC before all the banks were fully fed up with his antics and wouldn’t trust him any longer. The main problem here for El Mangolini is that Washington D.C. is in fact much smaller than NYC and he’s already run through all the people willing to step up and play three-card monte with him.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: If I recall correctly, didn’t the Trojans then fail to pay Poseidon?

    (Internet search reveals: yes)

    How very Trumpian.

  34. Hal_10000 says:

    @Teve:

    The national emergency. There was an opinion piece in HuffPo the other day that said Trump should just do it. Declare a national emergency and sign a continuing resolution. Then both the emergency and the funds move will be tied up in court for years.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Oh, yes. King Laomedon totally stiffed him. But it’s more Trumpian than that. Laomedon did not pay the consequences. His son, Priam, and all of Troy did.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve:

    All Trump has are the uneducated and Evangelical whites.

    There’s a difference?

  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    Actually, Kristol only added a couple of lines, the remainder of the post is a quote from a Repub operative.

  38. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: the intersection of those two sets is indeed very large.

  39. An Interested Party says:

    That’s something that the Democrats used to call “transparency”. They gave it lip service but never managed to actually be transparent. Trump actually does it.

    It figures that a Trump defender would be as disingenuous as Trump is…

    Declare a national emergency and sign a continuing resolution. Then both the emergency and the funds move will be tied up in court for years.

    As ridiculous and as stupid as he is, perhaps even Trump realizes that such a move would get him nothing…

  40. grumpy realist says:

    Well, if this shutdown keeps on, we’ll have a splendid stock market crash at some point as well as a recession. Maybe that’s Trump’s way of making sure we won’t have any illegal immigrants–trashing the economy!

    ….and if the TSA security people start walking off their jobs…? Hmm. That only gets the people leaving the country, not arriving in this country. Trump bungles again!

  41. grumpy realist says:

    Very good analysis lifted from an article over at The Guardian:

    But the most fascinating element of popular no-dealism is altogether more complicated, and built on a defiant rejection of all the warnings about falling off a cliff edge, so passionate that the refusal of advice feels more relevant to what people think than what the most reckless kind of Brexit actually might entail. In that sense, supporting no deal amounts to the same performative “fuck you” that defined a reasonable share of the original vote for leave.

    The gender aspect of Brexit is still too overlooked. Of the people gathered in that Wetherspoons, 90% were men. In a recent YouGov poll, support for no deal was put at 22%, but whereas 28% of men were no-dealers, among women the figure was a paltry 16%. There is something at play here similar to the belligerent masculinity channelled by Donald Trump: a yearning for all-or-nothing politics, enemies and endless confrontation, and an aggressive nostalgia. Some of the latter is shamelessly misogynistic, part of a macho bigotry that harks back to hierarchies of privilege that linger on, and blurs into racism. But there is also an element that ought to attract empathy: a yearning for a world in which men were steelworkers, coalminers and welders, and a desperate quest for something – anything – that might allow their successors to do the same.

    “aggressive nostalgia” hits it on the nose. Nevermind that if these people were suddenly whisked in a Tardis back to year XXXX they’d find a whole boatload of other things to gripe about–the yearning for “when we were on top” (meaning “when people like me were on top and didn’t have all this competition because we didn’t let people who didn’t look like me even in to the game”) is seductive to a huge number of people who should know better. It’s equivalent to all the people who insist that “oh, if I were back in history 250 years I would have been one of the Founding Fathers.” (As A. J. P. Taylor wryly commented: “My grandfather was a weaver, so I am less prone to belief in an inevitable past success.”)

  42. KM says:

    @grumpy realist :

    It’s equivalent to all the people who insist that “oh, if I were back in history 250 years I would have been one of the Founding Fathers.”

    Yep. They’re the idiots who think they’d be the slave-owners back in the day, rather then a share-cropper or indentured servant themselves. Everyone who wishes for the “good old days” makes the inherent assumption they’d be in the group it was the good old days for. No, history for the most part was filled with poor, frustrated lower-class folk lorded over and abused by a rich, privileged few. Changing what decade you are in doesn’t change what your social status would have been – that, with very rare exceptions, has always been decided by your birth circumstances. If you’re white trash now, you would have been white trash then.

  43. Mikey says:

    @KM: This is all true, but as LBJ observed, “on top” is relative, not absolute.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: I have absolutely no interest in indulging myself in “what I would have been back 250 years ago” musings because I know damn well what I would have been: dead. When you realise that it was a 50%-50% chance as to whether you would live or die at birth and that’s in spite of all the wonders of medical technology you get rather sardonic about the “how wonderful it would have been….” types.

    Hell, I probably wouldn’t have lived had I been born in the 1950s! So much for the Baby Boomer’s Utopia.

  45. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Not to mention how much more brutal the world was then.

    If I had to absolutely pick a time to live in other than now, I’d go for either Ancient Egypt in the New Kingdom era, or the Roman Empire during the reign of Hadrian and/or Antoninus Pious.

    Why? Those periods were reasonably peaceful, prosperous, and people bathed regularly.

  46. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Maybe that’s Trump’s way of making sure we won’t have any illegal immigrants–trashing the economy!

    Nope — that doesn’t pass the smell test, because it would actually work and Trump has no acquaintance with genuine cause-and-effect.