It was only four years ago Donald Trump attacked Mitt Romney for his “mean-spirited” self-deportation immigration plan, Charles Krauthammer reminded viewers of Fox News’s Special Report tonight.
Responding to host Bret Baier’s interview with the 2016 frontrunner earlier in the show, Krauthammer noted how Trump avoided even acknowledging his evolution: “He’s extremely good at this, because he dances and he dekes and he fakes, and then he disappears – without backing down.”
In the Baier interview, Trump denied calling Romney’s plan “mean-spirited” before quickly pivoting. During Krauthammer’s analysis, Baier read Trump’s 2012 quote:
Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians; the Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. What they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it … Romney had a crazy policy of self-deportation which was maniacal, it sounded as bad as it was. He lost the Latino vote, he lost the Asian vote. He lost anybody who was inspired to come into this country.
Krauthammer then observed how in tacking right on immigration, he’s pushed the debate itself to the right:
Because he’s a front-runner, he’s made this issue, which was way off the table, the central issue, deportation or not. It used to be citizenship or a work permit, do you get to vote, what kind of barriers you want border to ensure that there are no more illegal immigration? But now the debate is deportation. We’ve never had that.