Here’s an amusing NYT article confirming my surmise in Taki’s Magazine about Dick Durbin’s behavior in the Oval Office debate over immigration last week. The article totally takes Durbin’s side, but it’s obvious that Durbin’s complaint is that he got beat, bad, in the kind of fair fight the represents the epitome of good decision making over a crucial national policy.
Inside the Oval Office Immigration Meeting That Left a Senator Stunned
By CARL HULSE JAN. 19, 2018
WASHINGTON — As they departed the now famous Oval Office meeting where President Trump used vulgar language to disparage the national origin of some potential immigrants, Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin found themselves in a condition unfamiliar to such veteran politicians: speechless.
“After Lindsey and I left the room and got in the car together to come back to Capitol Hill, it was silence in the car,” Mr. Durbin, of Illinois, recalled in an interview on Thursday, describing their mutual distress at the ominous turn the negotiations had taken as well as the president’s conduct. “We had just witnessed something that neither one of us ever expected.”
In recounting events, Mr. Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, who has been pushing to protect young immigrants for nearly two decades, noted that he had a promising telephone call with Mr. Trump hours before last week’s meeting. Then he was invited to join Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a longtime advocate of an immigration law overhaul, at the White House for what they believed was a session to complete a bipartisan agreement to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers in exchange for new border security and other immigration law changes.
Instead, they ran into a buzz saw of angry and coarse opposition from the president, reinforced by the surprise presence of hard-line opponents of immigration overhaul from the House and Senate.
Oh my gosh, the President invited experts on the policy to the meeting!
“The deck was stacked against us as the president walked in the room,” said Mr. Durbin, who said Mr. Graham, seated next to the president, began laying out the specifics of the pending agreement only to have the meeting quickly deteriorate.
“He barely had a sentence or two out of his mouth, then the president started commenting. ‘Who is affected by that? What is this going to do?’” said Mr. Durbin, the sole Democrat of a dozen people present.
The President of the United States asked questions! Disgusting! The President wanted to know “Who is affected by that? What is this going to do?’” Don’t you understand, Mr. President, that Huddled Masses and Wretched Refuse are affected by that. They are who we are. Except, simultaneously, they are holier than us. They redeem us. That’s all you need to know.
“It was a very tough conversation starting immediately.”
“The language that was used, the attitude of the president, the expressions he made when it came to immigration just stunned me,” Mr. Durbin said.
I was shocked, shocked to find hard-headed questions being asked in the Oval Office.
Mr. Durbin, who has been in Congress for more than three decades and is no stranger to political back rooms, said the meeting was not the usual case of salty language shared among politicians gathered behind closed doors.
“It was beyond, and the intensity of the president’s feeling, and what he said there, as well as many other epithets during the course of it, I was surprised and shocked in a way,” he said, noting that upon his return to the Capitol, some colleagues commented on his demeanor.
I was shocked, I tell you.
“They said, ‘You look shaken,’ and I said I was,” he said. “After you have been in politics as long I have, it takes something to shake you up.”
And shaken, but not stirred.
Sadly, this NYT article didn’t mention my favorite moment of the meeting. From Real Clear Politics:
Durbin continued, “When it came to the issue of, quote, ‘chain migration,’ I said to the president, do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains and when you talk about chain migration, it hurts them personally.”
“[Trump] said, ‘Oh, that’s a good line.’”