With GOP flustered, White House aides try to clarify Trump’s immigration comments


Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., one of the negotiators of the compromise bill and a close ally of the president, said Friday that he had not urged the president to oppose the compromise bill. Meadows would not say if he supports the legislation, saying only that he’s “favorably disposed to the framework” that was discussed but that he had not read the bill yet.

Several House Republicans on Friday questioned whether Trump was aware of what’s in the bill.

“I saw the interview, and I think that he was responding to the word ‘moderate.’ Everything he said about his concerns are all in that bill, and so I’m very disappointed and we just need to move on and support this legislation and I hope that the president reads the bill,” said Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., a moderate, told reporters, “I’m hoping that once (Trump) finishes looking at both bills that hopefully he’ll realize that this is a good bill.”

Others suggested that the bill would be in trouble without Trump.

“I think if the president doesn’t support the moderate compromise, then there’s no way that the moderate compromise will pass the House because I think (for) some conservative members, that will be sufficient reason not to vote for it,” Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., told NBC News.

Trump’s threat shocked Capitol Hill, where leaders had stressed White House involvement in the process surrounding negotiations over the measure.

Ryan told his members earlier this week that he had spoken to Trump about the planned immigration strategy and that the president was excited about it. The bill itself was based on the president’s immigration plan, he said, saying at a press conference earlier this week that Republicans had been “working hand in glove with the administration on this.”

The compromise bill released Thursday following two weeks of discussion includes provisions that would provide legal status for people who came to the U.S. illegally as children — including a path to citizenship — bar the separation of children from their parent or legal guardian at the border, and provide $25 billion in additional funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border.

Ryan has long made clear that he only wants to bring legislation up for a floor vote as long as the president will sign it.

“We now have a bill that represents a compromise that is going to be brought to the floor so members can actually vote on legislation tackling this issue and this has a chance of going into law,” Ryan said Wednesday.

The decision to craft the compromise bill stemmed from negotiations that led to a deal between moderates and conservatives on Tuesday that would allow floor votes on the two measures next week. That strategy came in reaction to the threat of a discharge petition, though that effort failed to garner 218 signatures needed by the Tuesday deadline in order to trigger immigration floor votes this month.

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