Steve King Howls Over Trump’s Potential DACA Deal: ‘The Base Will Leave Him’

Lauren Victoria Burke

The hard-right congressman Steve King (R-IA) vented Thursday at the prospect of President Donald Trump striking a deal with Democratic congressional leaders that included what King described as “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

President Trump ended DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, on Sept. 5. The program shields undocumented young people who meet certain criteria from deportation. Trump has said he wants Congress to “legalize” the program, though he could also simply be passing the buck for the wave of deportations to come.

After a Wednesday night meeting with Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the President said Thursday that “We are working on a plan for DACA” to include increased border security funding. He said funding for his politically toxic border wall would “come later.”

King, known for his fiercely nativist views, was incensed Thursday morning in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

I think something is going to have to be reversed here with this President’s policy or it will just blow up his base,” he said. “I mean, this was a straight up promise all the way through his campaign.”

“I do think that maybe Nancy Pelosi hijacked the message a little bit and the President has to walk it back,” he added.

Trump did promise to end DACA on the campaign trail, and pledged against granting “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants. But the President is not known for keeping his promises.

“The base will leave him,” King warned of Trump pursuing a plan that would protect former DACA recipients. “They won’t be able to defend him anymore.”

Later, King said he would still support Trump even if the President embraced a DACA deal. Even if, King said, “this thing collapses and they rollover the top of me with amnesty and the rule of law is destroyed and my life’s work is tossed over the side.”

“I support almost every piece of the rest of his agenda except this amnesty piece that’s being dangled out in front of America right now, and that’s so destructive to a first world country,” he said separately.

The congressman took special issue with a protest on Capitol Hill by young undocumented people who he said were “demanding” amnesty.

“If anything, they ought to be at least pleading for it and not demanding it,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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