After Congress failed to pass a pair of immigration bills in recent weeks, President Donald Trump over the weekend tweeted that he had “never pushed” House Republicans to support either of them. Except he definitely did, in a different tweet, three days prior.
“I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “I released many prior to the vote knowing we need more Republicans to win in Nov.”
On Wednesday, Trump was singing a different tune. He tweeted, in all caps, “HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!”
The same day, the House voted down the legislation by a 121-301 vote. All the Democrats voted against it, and so did 112 Republicans.
The bill to which Trump is referring, “Goodlatte II,” was the Republicans’ “compromise” immigration bill between conservative and moderate members. After its hardline predecessor, “Goodlatte I,” failed on June 21 by a 193-231 vote, leadership twice delayed the vote on the slightly more moderate version, hoping to gain more Republican support.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the conservative first bill and was a lead negotiator on the second bill, which was also far to the right. Vox’s Tara Golshan has a full explainer of the “compromise” bill, Goodlatte II, and its failure in the House.
Trump’s not even trying to be sneaky here
Trump’s declaration that he had never urged Republicans to support either of the Goodlatte bills immediately raised eyebrows, especially since it’s an assertion that’s so easy to fact check. The tweet telling them to pass it is still there. You can see it.
But Trump started to walk back his push for the compromise bill almost as soon as it failed. When asked by reporters about the legislation’s failure in a press conference with Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Wednesday, Trump said he wanted Republican lawmakers to “do what they wanted.”
“You know, the problem we have — and I told them this morning, I said, ‘Hey, pass it, if you can,’” he said. “But I also want them to do what they want. We have a big immigration bill, like everybody does — like you’re talking and everybody talks about immigration now, I think, more than ever before.”
He’d sent the all-caps tweet hours earlier.