|Image from Groundhog Day (!) 2012, from CNN.|
Thus the communications over the weekend in the Sixty Minutes interview on a quite different immigration policy than the one we were led to expect. There aren't going to be any deportation forces, we're told, for the 11 million undocumented migrants living here. There's going to be an approach that sounds indistinguishable from the Obama approach, except for the Trump-signature pulled-out-of-the-ass numbers:
What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.But for everybody else (I thought they were here illegally too and it was a very big deal for the Republicans), who knows? We'll talk about it some other time! And by the way, those undocumented migrants who are not criminals are terrific people, terrific people!
After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that-- But before we make that determination-- Lesley, it’s very important, we want to secure our border.Never mind that the border is adequately secured already, or that his plan for securing it has been ditched while we weren't looking: the wall is only going up in "certain areas":
Lesley Stahl: They’re talking about a fence in the Republican Congress, would you accept a fence?
Donald Trump: For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.
Lesley Stahl: So part wall, part fence?
Donald Trump: Yeah, it could be – it could be some fencing.Some characteristic Trump bullshitting in there too, "I'm very good at this" to cover the fact that he hasn't got any kind of serious idea of what's involved, but the takeaway is that the wall of the campaign rallies ("And who's going to pay for it?" "Mexico!!!") is a dead article.
Similarly with the China question, and his campaign promise to levy a 45% tariff on Chinese imports and have the country classified as a currency manipulator on his "first day" in office, which of course would have been impossible anyway (the Treasury has to make a formal determination, which it refused to do a year and a half ago, when the renminbi was still undervalued, and certainly wouldn't do now, when it isn't). Now, however, he has had his phone call with Xi Jinping, in which "the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward." And flattery, with Trump, will get you everywhere:
The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper, said if Trump slapped China with heavy tariffs it would "paralyze" bilateral trade.
"When the time comes, large orders for Boeing planes would switch to Europe, U.S. auto sales in China would face setbacks, Apple phones would essentially be crowded out, and U.S. soybeans and corn would be eradicated from China," the paper said in a commentary.
"Trump, coming from a business background, is very astute. We do not believe he will treat China-U.S. trade so childishly."You can bet he won't, and then again it should have been clear he wouldn't all the time. Immigration, including immigration without documents, is a central part of his business background—supplying the non-union construction workers that build his buildings, for one thing—and so is the China trade, providing him with everything from the MAGA baseball caps to the structural steel. He said these things because they were applause lines, not because he had any idea of carrying them out (he didn't even have any idea he was going to get elected, of course; poor guy, he was as surprised as any of us).
(Just to be clear, I support amnesty for most undocumented as part of comprehensive immigration reform, and relatively open trade with China as I always do, regardless of what Trump policy turns out to be.)
And then when it comes to theocrat issues like the overturn of Roe v. Wade he's glad to hand it to them, but on the Goldwaterian grounds of states' rights, and it's noteworthy that he can't help explaining that it won't have any particular effect on people of his class:
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?
Donald Trump: No, it’ll go back to the states.
Lesley Stahl: By state—no some --
Donald Trump: Yeah.
Donald Trump: Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.If they get their abortion in New York or Florida maybe they can stay at a Trump property, or Scion if they're on a budget.
Lesley Stahl: Are you going to sometimes have that same rhetoric that you had on the stump? Or are you going to reign it in?That's "rein", Lesley, as in what you do with horses. "Reign" is what you do with your adoring subjects when you come out and show yourself in your crown. More on that later.