Fears that President Trump is on the verge of breaking his promises to end the Obama-era DACA program and build a border wall has led outraged supporters to launch a new Twitter handle "#AmnestyDon" and compare it to former President George H.W. Bush's pledge, "Read my lips, no new taxes."
"If Trump actually ends up giving away DACA for nothing but fig leaf ‘border security' measures," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, "it would be his ‘Read my lips' moment."
In the 1988 presidential campaign, Bush promised no taxes ever, then broke his promise while in office. Most believe it undercut his credibility and led to his reelection loss to Bill Clinton.
If he does not build the wall, he simply will not get reelected. If he does build it, he will win 2020 by a landslide. It is that simple. https://t.co/HWVKC8MFtu— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 14, 2017
Popular conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham said it is the buzz in her audience. "It's what my listeners are saying."
Fellow radio talker Mark Levin added, "very concerning."
Meanwhile, #AmnestyDon has started trending on Twitter, a bad sign for the president who uses it to communicate to his base and audience.
Craig Shirley, a prominent Reagan biographer, added, "It takes a strong and principled man to resist the siren if also corrupt song of the Washington establishment. Reagan never succumbed, nor did Harry Truman. Trump is neither."
Shirley, whose latest biography is on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Citizen Newt, added, "He reminds me more of a Richard Nixon or a Gerald Ford or Lyndon Johnson, desperately, flailing, trying to do anything to gain the approval of the unethical status quo of despicable Washington. Conservatives are asking themselves, ‘What fresh hell is this?'"
The flare up came after his dinner Wednesday night with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. They issued a statement that a deal on freeing the 800,000 in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients was in the works, and that money for the border wall Trump promised won't be part of it.
Let's play Jeopardy. ANSWER: An Easter egg. QUESTION: What'sthe only thing easier to roll than Donald J. Trump?— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 14, 2017
The White House has been cautious not to tie border wall funding to DACA legislation, but conservative critics believe they should be knotted.
Trump reacted on Twitter by saying he still wants the wall, but he was soft on the DACA recipients. The back and forth created confusion, and his comments Thursday morning did more like when he was asked about "amnesty" for the 800,000. Trump shouted back: "The word is DACA."
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
One of his biggest Twitter fans, actor James Woods, tweeted, "If he does not build the wall, he simply will not get reelected. If he does build it, he will win 2020 by a landslide. It is that simple."
A Republican official close to the White House said, "What is the president smoking? He's giving up on the border wall and is going to preserve DACA? This isn't why voters sent him to Washington. Immigration has been his foundation since the beginning of his campaign and he's pouring gasoline on it and lighting his whole promise on fire."
Another longtime GOP advisor who has advised Trump said that a limited bill to let some DACA recipients stay, such as those in the military or with good grades, will be allowed by the president's base but not one that covers all of them.
"Otherwise, it's just a big honking amnesty just like Obama and the GOP liberals have wanted to do since day one. If Trump was not committed on this issue, he should not have run on it, talked about it ceaselessly, used it to attack the rest of the 2016 primary field and Hillary," said the advisor.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org