Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said President Donald Trump obtained poor advice on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from the White House staff.
Graham told reporters, “I don’t think the President was well served by his staff. I think the President we saw Tuesday, that Donald Trump exist. And somehow, by 12 o’clock on Thursday something happened… I do believe his staff pretty much missed the mark here.” The senator added, “I think somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice.”
The senator made the statement after a hearing with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Democrats grilled Nielson regarding the Thursday meeting particularly about Trump’s “shithole countries” remarks, which stalled the DACA negotiations.
During a meeting on Tuesday last week, Trump said a legislative solution for DACA should be a “bill of love.”
Graham said thy need a reliable partner at the White House
After the hearing, Graham also told reporters, “I think the President I saw on Tuesday was guy I play golf with….He is actually funny, I thought he commanded.” He added that the conversation at around 10 o’clock on Thursday was consistent. The senator reiterated his belief that something happened between 10 and 12 o’clock that day. As a result, Trump made the derogatory comment regarding immigrants from Haiti and certain African countries.
Furthermore, Graham emphasized that they need a “reliable partner at the White House” to do a better deal on DACA.
The White House partner should be “somebody like the President who showed up on Tuesday. We cannot do this with people in charge at the White House who have an irrational view of how to fix immigration,” according to the senator.
Durbin believes Miller was behind the effort to kill immigration reform
Separately, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told reporters that he “absolutely agreed” with Graham that someone on the White House staff poisoned the effort with Trump to reach an agreement on DACA.
Durbin said, “I spoke to the President at 10 o’clock on Thursday morning. I said we have a bipartisan agreement. He said, great, I can’t wait to hear what’s involved in it. I’m not gonna let the slow walkers take control of this situation. Let’s get it done.”
However, Durbin said over the next two hours, someone on the White House staff invited five members of the Congress who “generally opposed immigration all reforms.” The senator added, “The idea was clearly to outnumber us and to kill our efforts.”
Reporters asked if the White House staffer=was Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior advisor for political policy. Durbin replied, “Any effort to kill immigration reform usually has Mr. Miller’s fingerprints on it.”