It was a new day, and apparently, time for a new position on immigration, with Donald Trump suddenly refusing to rule out giving legal status to undocumented workers who want to stay in the US:
“I’m not ruling out anything. We’re going to make that decision into the future. OK?” He added, “Good question, I’m glad you asked that.” He’s not really, of course. As CNN’s Dana Bash observed, that was just Trump “punting” that “good question” away.
And not ruling anything out? Many of us would argue Trump has made a lot of decisions. That’s what he says anyway. That’s what he told the crowd at his big immigration speech. It was just last week Trump said those folks would “have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for reentry like everybody else.”
Trump wasn’t in front of a big, angry, xenophobic crowd of his supporters when his position apparently softened; he was sitting down with the media, a few of whom he had allowed on his private plane.
It would no doubt be wonderful for prospective Trump supporters (and even his own VP nominee) to know what Trump actually thinks about any given issue. Right now, it’s anybody’s guess. Alan Yuhas, writing at The Guardian, called Trump’s variable states of being, “fluctuating,” when it comes to the issue of immigration.
That’s one word for it.
Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who was attacked by Trump as weak – though Flake isn’t the wishy-washy one – complained of Trump that “He pivots and then pivots right back. So it’s kind of a 360-degree pivot at times. That’s not clear at all. Some people said it was hardening, some said softening. I say it was just confusing.”
Of course, we’re not actually certain Trump’s pivot was really a pivot because it was and it kinda wasn’t. Joe Scarborough’s point that Trump says a lot of contradictory things is well taken, but Scarborough is wrong if he thinks saying all those things frees Trump of responsibility for what he said.
Flake went on to say, “I’d like to see a firm position that he sticks with for a while, and obviously I’d like to see a more realistic position in dealing with those who are here illegally now.”
This might be the more realistic decision Flake is looking for. But don’t bet on it.
NBC News, tracking Trump’s changing positions, has noted that Trump’s earlier pivots seem more on the order of “a rhetorical shift,” or, as Katrina Pierson put it, he’s not changing his position, “He’s changed the words that he is saying.”
That makes as much sense as anything to come out of Trump’s mouth on immigration. It is just impossible to know what his position is, and one would think that as we approach Election Day, he would want to cement his positions. At this point, even his own supporters, including poor Mike Pence, who is going to be his VP if he wins, don’t know.
Trump said in response to Flake, “The Republican Party needs strong and committed leaders,” but if Trump is committed to anything at this point it is impossible to say with any certainty what it is. And don’t expect whatever comes out of his mouth next to clear it up any.
Photo: Screen capture from CNN
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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