Sep 6, 2017

The bedrock of Trump's support: "stranger in my own country"

Mike Allen, author of AM

Evan Vucci / AP

There's a strong, consistent, underlying reason Republican voters stuck with President Trump after Charlottesville, and will stick with him if he ends up deporting the children of illegal immigrants: They dislike and fear the changing face of America.

Polls have been very consistent on this point. One of the earliest signs that Trump's "America First," anti-immigration mantra would resonate was a survey showing how many white Republican disdained the changing demographics around them. This holds true now, too:

  • Nearly half (48%) of white working-class Americans say, "things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country," according to a poll released in May by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Atlantic.
  • A new WSJ/NBC poll shows: "More than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, said they felt comfortable with societal changes that have made the U.S. more diverse."
  • The same poll showed a radical shift in Democratic views about immigration over the past decade: In 2005, just 45% of Democrats said the country was strengthened by immigration. Now the share is 81%.
  • Sound smart: Don't underestimate how much pressure Republicans will be under from rank-and-file voters to resist anything that smacks of amnesty, even for children. They want a wall, not warm welcomes.

Trump waffles ... The reaction to yesterday's DACA announcement was brutal. The L.A. Times banner headline: "'DREAMERS' CRUSHED: Trump to phase out protections for 800,000 young immigrants." A sidebar: "Republican Party's future is at stake too."

  • At 8:38 p.m., Trump — no doubt watching cable coverage — tweeted: "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue."
  • Aides tell me Trump thought that given the legal analysis he was presented, he had no choice but to end the program. But he has told associates he doesn't want the Dreamers to be punished.
  • Axios' Caitlin Owens, who spent yesterday on the Hill, tells me that Republican leaders sound like they want to pass a fix within Trump's six-month reprieve. But veteran aides are skeptical. One said: "We've been through this before. We try to do something and it's always too much or not enough. Very Goldilocks and the bears."

Go deeper

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John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

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Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.