Democrats, dismayed but not surprised by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, were quick to issue statements of condemnation and offer up legislative fixes. They were also bolder than they’d been in the past to make a heavy accusation: The president, in the wake of deadly neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, was giving white supremacists what they wanted.
“It is clear that the president eliminated DACA to advance his xenophobic agenda,” Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said in a statement. “This repeal aligns with the interests not of the 78 percent of Americans opposed to deporting these young people, but of un-American anti-DACA white supremacist leaders like Richard Spencer. Spencer has called himself a former ‘mentor’ to close Trump adviser, Stephen Miller, who urged the president to end the program.”
Conyers, who is in line to run the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats retake the House, was one of several Democrats who invoked racists, Charlottesville, or both, to describe the president’s decision as a sop to bigots.
“The president is breaking apart families and bruising our economy,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in his statement. “And on the heels of Charlottesville, he is signaling to champions of hate and bigotry that their voices matter most.”
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), the House’s main advocate for DACA, singled out White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, saying in a statement that he’d been lied to about the fate of the program. Then he went further, accusing Kelly of siding with white supremacists.
“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear,” Gutiérrez said. “He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the president’s actions by ‘just following orders.’ ”
The Working Families Party, the New York-based progressive group that has been expanding across the country, chimed in with a comment similar to that of Conyers: “With today’s announcement, Trump is delivering for the most radical segments of his base — the white supremacists who are marching with torches and pushing for policies of exclusion.”