WH Says Press ‘Lucky’ To Be Allowed Into Trump Immigration Meeting

on January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the White House had opened up a bipartisan, bicameral meeting on immigration with President Donald Trump to the press because the White House wanted the public to see “how we are working and leading to move the ball down the field to come up with real solutions.”

Beyond that, though, Sanders stayed mum on the concrete results of the meeting, the televised portions of which provided similarly sparse insight into the status of the negotiations.

It was an bizarre scene: For around an hour, cameras rolled as Trump moderated a conversation between Democrats and Republicans from both chambers of Congress on DACA — Trump’s repeal of which has left nearly 800,000 young people at risk of deportation — border security and so-called “chain migration” (this administration’s term for existing family-based advantages for prospective immigrants).

Sanders, in a press briefing, called it a “successful and productive bipartisan and bicameral meeting,” but revealed few details.

“Lucky you” she told a reporter who asked why cameras were allowed to stay running for such a long time.

Whose decision was it to allow the press in to witness that entire negotiation and what was the goal of having us sit there and watch it?” the reporter asked.

“Just to be clear you weren’t there for the entire negotiation, because the deal didn’t take place until after you guys left,” Sanders said.

She continued: “But I think a number of individuals in the room felt it was a good thing to let you see the cooperation and the conversation between both sides and see how we are working and leading to move the ball down the field and come up with real solutions.”

After the bipartisan meeting, before the press briefing, Sanders released a written statement on the “agreement” the lawmakers reached:

President Donald J. Trump just concluded a successful bipartisan and bicameral meeting on immigration reform.  During the closed-door portion of the meeting, they reached an agreement to negotiate legislation that accomplishes critically needed reforms in four high-priority areas: border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

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