Then-candidate Donald Trump, speaking in Arizona, September 1, 2016: “NO AMNESTY! For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system.”
Last night, after dining with the president, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement declaring, “We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
Er, yes, Mr. President, that is what is generally what “no amnesty” means.
President Trump concluded, “ . . . They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.”
That’s the author of In Trump We Trust. Now she tells us!
Congressman Steve King of Iowa, another big Trump supporter in 2016, reacts this morning: “Unbelievable! Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers coupled with the reward of the objective of their crime. If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”
Breitbart.com goes with the headline: “AMNESTY DON . . . DEMS DECLARE VICTORY AS TRUMP CAVES ON DACA”
How bad is it? Bad enough to shake the faith of Sean Hannity!
Hannity: “If POTUS doesn’t keep that promise [for a wall], and goes for amnesty, it will be the political equivalent of ‘read my lips, no new taxes.’”
In fact, when you look at President Trump’s biggest fans from the 2016 campaign, a recurring pattern emerges — even before reports of last night’s deal.
Julius Krein, founder and editor of American Affairs: “I can’t stand by this disgraceful administration any longer, and I would urge anyone who once supported him as I did to stop defending the 45th president. Not only has the president failed to make the course corrections necessary to save his administration, but his increasingly appalling conduct will continue to repel anyone who might once have been inclined to work with him.”
Mike Cernovich: “I don’t want anyone to think of me as a pro-Trump guy. I’m going to specifically reject any kind of branding about pro-Trump or whatever . . . Do you gain anything by risking your reputation, your career, your business, supporting Trump? What is the upside? Backing Trump has been bad for business.”
Stephen Bannon, upon his departure from the White House: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else.”
Caitlyn Jenner: “I apologize to all of the trans community. I made a mistake. I will never do it again and I’m getting rid of the [Make America Great Again] hat.”
Gee, if only someone had been around in 2015 and 2016, to warn these poor folks that Trump had no ideological principles; that he was erratic, mercurial and quick to seek out scapegoats; that he had almost no knowledge about how the federal government worked and little interest in learning; that he was temperamentally ill-suited to the daily pressures of the presidency and the inevitable criticism from the press, and that he was more focused on gratifying his own ego and feeling an abstract sense of “winning” than particular policy outcomes or building broad coalitions to enact his agenda . . .
I kid, of course. All of these people were warned, time and again, with mountains of history and supporting evidence about Trump’s true nature and instincts. But these folks were completely convinced that they knew better.
The Battle of Jamele Hill
A lot of right-of-center sports fans don’t particularly like Jamele Hill, the co-host of the 6 p.m. Sportscenter on ESPN, who tweeted Monday that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
Late last night, she issued the statement: “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
This portrait of the show raises the question of just what ESPN wanted to do with Hlll and her co-host Michael Smith, and whether their preferred ideas and format really fit with the past identity of SportsCenter, their flagship program of scores, highlights and news. I recall the commercials touting the show as “Sports Music Movies + More”, and thinking . . . why is ESPN covering music and movies? Doesn’t this implicitly verify the charge that ESPN, which touted itself as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” is turning into a progressive-minded network for people who are only kind-of sort-of interested in sports?
My colleague David French strenuously objects to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declaring that Hill’s statement is “something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.” (It is depressing that once-venerable journalistic institutions like The Hill succumbed completely to the instinct to hype the statement for social media outrage, declaring “White House demands ESPN fire host.” Huckabee’s statement is newsworthy enough as is when you report it accurately.)
I concur with French that I don’t want the White House urging private companies to fire employees for criticizing the president. (It’s also probably counterproductive; the moment Huckabee criticized Hill from the podium, she became indispensible to ESPN, which was not going to let the world think that it had knuckled under and obeyed instructions from a president with a job approval below 40 percent. No self-respecting company would do that.)
But in a world where the slightest whiff of controversy in a statement can get someone fired, it’s hard to begrudge those on the right attempting to demonstrate that the door can swing both ways. This is a world where Google fires engineers for expressing politically incorrect ideas, Berkeley’s campus looks like a war zone preparing for Ben Shapiro’s speech, and a violent mob can encircle Charles Murray on Middlebury’s campus. The American people will not accept a society where only one side of the political debate is acceptable to express publicly. Corporate America cannot be the enforcers of a contingent understanding of the First Amendment, where employment is dependent upon your personal political views staying within the company’s accepted (and rapidly shrinking) parameters.
If Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage is right, that’s more or less what ESPN is doing, with ESPN president John Skipper allegedly berating longtime anchor Linda Cohn for daring to offer some mild and well-founded criticism of the network getting too political for the tastes of some viewers.
ADDENDA: Once again, National Review hopes you can join us for the Fourth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, held Wednesday, October 25, at Gotham Hall in New York City.
The theme of this year’s dinner is “Books, Arts, & Manners,” honoring world-class author Tom Wolfe with the William F. Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought and Bruce and Suzie Kovner with the WFB Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty. The Kovners have supported and led organizations that defend private enterprise, free markets and free trade, protect individual rights, promoted scholarly research that strengthens American democratic principles; fought for education reform, particularly charter schools; and helped ensure the future of the major performing arts institutions of New York City.
The master of ceremonies will be James Rosen of Fox News and the event will feature performances by students of The Juilliard School. More information about tickets and sponsorship can be found here. Hope to see you there.